Bad Weather Delays Morsi Trial, Supporters Say it's 'Politically Motivated'
By Johnlee Varghese | January 9, 2014 1:42 AM EST
Bad weather delayed the trial of Egypt's former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi scheduled for Wednesday.
Morsi, who is charged for inciting murder, could not be brought to the court as heavy fog prevented the military helicopter from taking off. The case now has been adjourned to 1 February.
Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Morsi take part in a protest in Cairo - (Reuters)
Morsi and 14 others are on trial for inciting the killing of protesters outside the Cairo presidential palace in December 2012. 10 persons were killed and hundreds were wounded in the incident.
Morsi was to be brought from a prison near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria to the court in eastern Cairo but the military helicopter could not take off due to thick fog, a local media report said.
However, there have also been voices suggesting that the delay in trial was more of a 'political tactic.' Wednesday's hearing was to be Morsi's second appearance in court, since his ouster in a popularly backed coup on 3 July.
In less than a week, the Egyptians are scheduled to start voting in a nationwide referendum on a new constitution. The new constitution, even if is able to secure a simple majority, will mark the end of the Islamist constitution laws passed under Morsi. About 680,000 Egyptians living abroad have already started voting on the new charter on Wednesday.
Local media reports state that several dozen Morsi supporters clashed with security forces on Wednesday outside the court, following adjournment of the case. Since Morsi's ouster, his Brotherhood has been waging a campaign of street protests to demand his reinstatement.
An Al Jazeera report claimed that the adjournment was linked to the January 14-15 referendum on the new constitution and that the judge's decision was politically motivated. "The decision was inspired by the political circumstances," Osama el-Helou, a defence laywer was quoted by Al Jazeera.
The ousted President also faces two more cases: 1) a jailbreak in 2011, during an uprising that ousted his predecessor - autocrat Hosni Mubarak - and 2) allegations that he conspired with militant groups. If found guilty in any three of the cases, he will be sentenced to death.
Since Morsi's downfall, Egypt has seen some of the worst violence in history; an estimated 900 people were killed, mostly Morsi supporters, in August 2013 after the authorities cracked down on two camps of the supporters in Cairo.
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