Leading Muslim Brotherhood members including Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, Mohammed El-Beltagy, and Essam Al-Erian and 12 others appeared in court on Wednesday facing a litany of charges, including incitement of murder.
The defendants are standing trial for charges relating to a 15 July protest at Al-Bahr Al-Azza Street in Giza, west of the Cairo neighbourhood of Manial, which left five dead and 100 injured. Aside from incitement to commit murder, additional accusations include terrorism, resisting authorities, and creating a military group which they supported monetarily and with firearms.
During a Saturday hearing of the same case, a homeland security officer testified that the defendants used the annex of a building near the Rabaa Al-Adaweya Mosque – where thousands of supporters of deposed president Mohamed Morsi staged a sit-in for over six weeks before being dispersed – to plan the creation of the militant group.
The alleged militant group used firearms and birdshot to attack private homes and businesses, according to the prosecution.
An investigation by the prosecution confirmed the testimony of the Homeland Security officer, reported state-run Al-Ahram.
This trial, along with several others trials with Muslim Brotherhood defendants, has faced repeated delays.
Wafaa Al-Banna, spokeswoman for the Anti-Coup Alliance, a group that supports the Muslim Brotherhood, claims that the charges against the defendants are politically motivated, adding that it seems like the same defendants are in court nearly every other day.
“These are all political trials… to keep the name of the Muslim Brotherhood in the newspapers, in the news,” said Al-Banna.
“All this has nothing to do with justice…it’s just a publicity stunt to make [Brotherhood members] come and go [through the courts] until the elections.”
A Tuesday trial of 48 Brotherhood members on charges of blocking the Cairo-Alexandria Agricultural Road was postponed to 19 March.
Badie is a defendant a number of other ongoing trials, including an indictment for killing protesters on 30 June and 1 July during deadly clashes outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Cairo’s Moqattam neighbourhood.
Badie is also a co-defendant in two trials that include deposed president Mohamed Morsi. Badie, Morsi and 34 other Muslim Brotherhood leaders are charged with spying for the “International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood and its armed wing” from 2005 to 2013 by revealing classified information. They also face charges, along with 129 defendants, for escaping from Wadi El-Natrun Prison on 28 January 2011.
The result of the Wednesday trial was not available at press time.