By Allaa Zain
On Saturday, an Aswan criminal court postponed the first trial of 163 defendants charged with involvement in the bloody tribal clashes that left 26 dead and dozens injured in April.
The trial features 163 defendants, 67 of whom are currently incarcerated, with the remaining 96 fugitives. Saturday’s trial session took place without the defendants and defence attorneys. The next session of the trial is slated to take place in January 2015.
According to state TV, the defendants are charged with kidnapping, murder, possession and use of firearms, mutilation and burning of bodies, using force against the police and impeding the police from carrying out their duties.
The April violence took place after an incident of sexual harassment, and carried on for several days as peace talks dissolved into gunfights. After police intervention failed to quell the tribal bloodshed Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb, Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Ahmed Al-Tayeb travelled to Aswan to broker a truce.
Reconciliation efforts mediated by Al-Tayeb and his delegation, which included Minister of Religious Endowment Mokhtar Gomaa and several high level Al-Azhar officials, scholars and preachers, eventually succeeded in ending the violence.