The head of Cairo’s criminal court has announced that Tuesday’s trial of former president Mohamed Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood members will only be aired on state-run TV.
Morsi and the 130 co-defendants stand accused of collaborating with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah to escape from Wadi El-Natroun prison during the January 2011 uprising, as well as attempting to murder police officers.
The defendants include senior Brotherhood leaders Mohamed Saad El-Katatni, Essam El-Erian, Mohamed El-Beltagy and Safwat Hegazy.
A number of Hamas and Hezbollah members have also been named among the defendants in the case.
Head of Morsi’s defense team Mohamed El-Damaty has requested a permit for 35 lawyers to attend the proceedings on Tuesday. El-Damaty said on Sunday that the permits are expected to be given out on the day of the trial.
Morsi’s lawyers from a previous trial on 4 November complained that many of his lawyers were not allowed into court, notably Selim El-Awa, one of Morsi’s attorneys and a presidential candidate in the 2012 elections.
The session in November was not aired live on TV. Only brief footage from the courtroom was shown on state-run TV after the trail was adjourned.
The trial witnessed an unexpected very modest number of protesters gathered in front of the court.
Morsi’s November trial was for separate charges of inciting murder and violence during clashes between his supporters and opponents at Ittihadiya presidential palace on 4 December 2012. The clashes resulted in the death of ten people.
The deposed president will also face trial on 16 February over allegations he collaborated with Hamas, Hezbollah and other organisations to commit terrorist acts in Egypt.
Meanwhile, a security source told Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website that Tuesday’s trial at the police academy in the eastern New Cairo district will see a strong display of security forces — 50 units of Central Security Forces (CSF) and 75 battle groups, in addition to 50 security vehicles.
Morsi for his part will be transferred by helicopter from Burg Al-Arab prison in Alexandria to the Cairo court.