Mursi to Go on Trial Today for Inciting Violence

Reuters04.11.2013 Egypt
Mursi to Go on Trial Today for Inciting Violence

Mursi to Go on Trial Today for Inciting Violence

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Egypt's ousted President, Mohamed Mursi, goes on trial on Monday under a security crackdown that has devastated his Muslim Brotherhood movement and raised concerns that the army-backed government is re-imposing a police state.

A popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in 2011 raised hopes that Egyptians would break the military establishment's longstanding grip on power. But the world's most populous Arab nation has faltered in its political transition, and the Generals are back in charge, to the dismay of Cairo's Western allies who were hoping Egypt's experiment with democracy would be smooth.

Mursi, who was ousted by the Army on July 3 after mass protests against his rule, is due to appear in court along with 14 other senior Muslim Brotherhood figures on charges of inciting violence.

He and the other defendants could face a life sentence or death penalty if found guilty. That would likely further inflame tensions between the Brotherhood and the army-backed government and deepen the political instability that has decimated investment and tourism in a country where a quarter of people live under the poverty line.

When the military ousted Mursi, it promised a political roadmap would lead to free and fair elections.
What followed was one of the harshest clampdowns ever mounted against the Brotherhood, which is now struggling to survive after enduring state repression for decades.

Security officials accuse Brotherhood leaders of inciting violence and terrorism. Hundreds of the movement's members have been killed and many of its leaders jailed. The Brotherhood denies any links with violent activity.

Mursi has been held in an undisclosed location since his removal. The trial is expected to be held at a Police institute near Cairo's Tora prison.

The charges of inciting violence relate to the deaths of about a dozen people in clashes outside the Presidential Palace in December after Mursi enraged his opponents with a decree expanding his powers.

The Brotherhood accused the Army of staging a coup and reversing the democratic gains made since the fall of Mubarak, who ruled with an iron fist for three decades.

But many Egyptians, who grew disillusioned with Mursi's rule, do not share their view. The military says it was responding to the will of the people.

Sisi, the man who toppled Mursi, has become wildly popular. Few doubt the General, who was Head of Military Intelligence under Mubarak, would win if he runs for President.

Many liken him to Gamal Abdel Nasser, the Colonel who led a coup against the monarchy in 1952, set up an Army-led autocracy and rounded up thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members.
Source: Reuters

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