Morsi espionage trial adjourned

Defence team withdraws from trial to protest against former ruler being held in glass cage during proceedings.

    The trial against deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has been adjourned by a court in Cairo, where he faces charges of espionage and carrying out what prosecutors call "terror attacks".
     
    Egyptian state TV on Sunday said the defence team withdrew because Morsi was being held in a glass cage during the proceedings. Al Jazeera understands Morsi's lawyers said the cage prevented him from hearing the case and stopped him communicating.

    The judge refused a request to remove the glass cage, and the lawyers withdrew from court, although they have not removed themselves from the case. The trial was adjourned until February 26.
     
    Thirty-five others, including former aides and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, are accused of similar charges.

    The charges in Sunday's proceedings relate to the deaths of at least 10 people who were taking part in rallies outside the presidential palace in December 2012.

    Morsi is also charged with conspiring with terrorist organisations. Prosecutors say Morsi worked with the Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah.

    His two other charges are for escaping jail back in 2011 and for insulting the judiciary. Morsi could face the death penalty if found guilty of some of those charges.

    "There hasn't been any evidence whatsoever because these are deeply politicized times in Egypt, and politicized charges," Abdullah al-Arian, assistant professor of history at Georgetown University, told Al Jazeera.

    "This case is not subject to the usual rigours of law enforcement, investigation, and evidence," al-Arian added. "This is one of four separate trials of Morsi, and in today's proceedings, the Egyptian government will try to delegitimize the former regime and put fear of other governments and to promote a strong Egyptian nationalism."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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