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51 referred to criminal court for Helwan violence

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Prosecution refers 51 suspects to criminal court on charges that include murder and vandalism

The prosecutor general referred 51 Morsi supporters to criminal court for allegedly killing three police officers and three others and attacking the Helwan Police Station.

The charges relate to violence that erupted on 14 August 2013 in Helwan following the bloody dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adaweya. The defendants, whom the prosecution referred to as “terrorists” in its Wednesday statement, face a list of charges, including committing crimes of terrorism, illegal assembly, murder, conspiracy to commit murder, vandalism, and possession of unlicensed weapons.

The prosecution accused those “following the terrorist Brotherhood” of assembling in front of the Helwan police station and opening fire on police officers and bystanders and targeting government property with Molotov cocktails, killing six and injuring more. The statement also accused the Muslim Brotherhood of planning the attack on police stations across the country upon the dispersals of Nahda Square and Rabaa Al-Adaweya “to spread chaos in the country”.

The prosecutor general’s office ordered the continued detention of 49 of the defendants who were already in preventive detention and the arrest of the remaining two charged who are not in police custody.

The dispersal of Rabaa Al-Adaweya on 14 August left hundreds dead and many Morsi supporters reacted to the bloodshed by attacking police stations and churches throughout the country.

Earlier this month Muslim Brotherhood Secretary General Mahmoud Hussein asserted that the group’s activities are “based on absolute peacefulness and the renunciation of violence in all of its forms”, dismissing the ongoing crackdown on the group as part of the “security attack waged by the military coup’s authority”, also pointing to a “media campaign that aims to demonise the group” and associate it with false accusations.


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Al-Jazeera channel's Australian journalist Peter Greste (L) and Egyptian journalist Mohamed Baher stand inside the defendants cage during their trial for allegedly supporting the Muslim Brotherhood at the police institute near Cairo's Tora prison on June 1, 2014. The high-profile case that sparked a global outcry over muzzling of the press is seen as a test of the military-installed government's tolerance of independent media, with activists fearing a return to autocracy three years after the Arab Spring uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak. 

(AFP PHOTO / KHALED DESOUKI)

UPDATE: Al Jazeera’s Peter Greste out of prison

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