Deposed leader to face charges of colluding with foreign groups to escape prison during uprising against Mubarak regime.
Last updated: 28 Jan 2014 09:05
Morsi, seen here in leaked video after his arrest, has been in custody since his removal last year.
|Egypt’s toppled president, Mohamed Morsi, has arrived in Cairo for a trial over prison breaks in 2011, according to the state news agency.
The MENA agency report on Tuesday said Morsi flew by helicopter from Borg al-Arab prison in Alexandria, while some 130 others were driven to Cairo.
The trial opens the day after General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who led the army’s removal of Morsi last year, was cleared by the military to run for the presidency later this year.
The case is rooted in the 2011 escape of more than 20,000 inmates from Egyptian prisons – including Morsi. Also charged are members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas and the Lebanese group Hezbollah.
Morsi was accused, just before his removal by the army last year, of colluding with “foreign forces” to allow him to break out of a high-security prison near Cairo.
He was being held in custody after a roundup of Muslim Brotherhood supporters during the uprising against the regime of Hosni Mubarak.
A lawyer has said the trial appears aimed at “denigrating” Morsi and his Brotherhood group.
It is Morsi’s second court appearance since Egypt’s popularly backed July 3 military coup. He missed a January 8 hearing in another trial after security officials said bad weather grounded a helicopter meant to bring him.
Gunmen killed a senior Egyptian Interior Ministry official outside his home in Cairo on Tuesday, security officials said.
“General Mohamed Saeed, head of the technical office of the minister of interior, was targeted by gunmen inside a car who shot him and fled,” one of the officials told the Reuters news agency.
The general was an aide to Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, who survived an assassination attempt last year.
There have been an upswing in attacks on security targets in the last week Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, a group based in the Sinai Peninsula, said it carried out bombings that rocked Cairo during the thrid anniversary of the uprsising against Hosni Mubarak.
Ansar said that the attacks were in response to suppression of Morsi’s supporters and the Brotherhood.
Egypt to hold early presidential election
Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour has announced that Egypt will hold a presidential election before parliamentary polls, changing a political “road map” laid down after the army overthrew Mohamed Morsi last summer.
The long-expected change could pave the way for the swift election of General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the popular defence minister who many expect will run for the presidency. The “road map” had called for parliamentary elections first, but many of Egypt’s political parties said they would not be ready for a legislative vote this spring.
“Most of the political forces demanded presidential elections first,” Mansour said in a televised address, “and I have amended the road map to meet their demands.”
The president did not announce a date for the vote, a job that falls to the High Elections Commission. It must be held no less than 90 days after the constitution was adopted, which will require a ballot before mid-April.
Mansour also said he would increase the number of courts dealing with terrorism charges, to “bring perpetrators to justice swiftly.” Security in Egypt has deteriorated since Morsi’s removal, with bombings now a regular occurrence in Cairo and other major cities.
His comments came after the government announced that 49 people were killed on Saturday in violence that erupted on the third anniversary of the popular uprising which toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Nearly 250 people were wounded in Cairo and several other provinces during the demonstrations, the Health Ministry said on Sunday.
The worst violence was directed at supporters of the deposed president, Mohamed Morsi, who staged dozens of rallies across the country.
While thousands rallied in support of the army chief, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew Morsi in July, others protested against the military-backed government, underscoring deep and persistent divisions.
The Interior Ministry said in a statement on Sunday that it had arrested 1,079 “rioters” in possession of rifles, petrol bombs, fireworks, and other weapons. It said that a number of policemen were injured in clashes.
Also on Sunday, four soldiers were killed and nine wounded when gunmen attacked a military bus that was travelling in the Sinai Peninsula, security sources said.
The area is home to Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, an armed group that has said it carried out attacks in Cairo in the days before the anniversary of the start of the uprising against Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
Sinai was the site of a reported attack on Saturday where an army helicopter was destroyed by rocket fire