Egypt’s state TV says the judge in the trial of the country’s deboned Islamist president and 14 others has adjourned the hearing soon after it started because the suspects’ chants were cutting off the proceedings.
Morsi and the others are charged with inciting murder and could face the
death penalty if convicted.
Morsi’s trial marks his first appearance in public since he was ousted on July 3 and locked up in secret detention, virtually incommunicado. He plans to defend himself, rejecting the court’s authority and claiming he is still Egypt’s true president, thereby energizing his supporters in the street.
The trial raises fears of a resurgence of violence in the country with Morsi supporters planning widespread protests and police announcing a state of alert.
A coalition of Morsi backers from the Brotherhood and its allies have promised to “make this day an international day of protest” declaring “We will defeat this brutal traitorous military coup.”
Security concerns are so high that the precise location of the trial was not made known until early on Monday.
The dissolution, likely to last till later on Monday, came after a two-hour delay in the start of the proceedings.
Security officials inside the courtroom said the delay was made by Mohammed Morsi’s pressure not to change into the prison uniform customarily worn by defendants, part of his refusal to recognize the trial’s authenticity.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.
Since Morsi’s ouster, the country has seen a deadly crackdown on his Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, with more than 1,000 pro-Morsi supporters and dozens of security officials killed during clashes at protests.
Likelihood for real justice ‘compromised’
Rights groups have warned that Morsi may not receive a fair trial.
“What concerns me about this trial is that the justice system has been extremely selective and there has been almost near impunity for security services for the killing of hundreds of protesters,” said Heba Morayef, Egypt director for Human Rights Watch.
“And in that kind of environment of politicized pursuances, the likelihood for real justice is settled.”
The trial marks the first time the country has two ex-presidents on trial. Morsi’s precursor Hosni Mubarak is currently on retrial after being labeled last year of guilt in the killing of demonstrators during the 2011 protests which led to his upset.