Three leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood are to go on trial in Egypt on charges of inciting lethal violence. Former president Hosni Mubarak also returns to face further court charges.
Mohammed Badie, the Islamist movement's "General Guide," and his two deputies, Khairat al-Shater and Rashad Bayoumy, will not attend the High Court session according to the the state news agency MENA. They are charged with inciting lethal violence during unrest before the army took power last month.
Egypt's former president Hosni Mubarak is also facing further court charges on Sunday, this time over complicity in the deaths of protesters during the 2011 uprising that forced him to resign. Mubarak was released from prison last week but remains under house arrest. The 85-year-old former president is being held at a military hospital in Cairo. It is not clear if he is to attend the hearing.
Badie was taken into custody last week; the first time a Brotherhood supreme guide had been arrested since 1981. Khater and Bayoumi were detained earlier, following the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi, a fellow Brotherhood member. They are accused of inciting the murder of protesters who died outside their Cairo headquarters on the evening of June 30, when millions of Egyptians attended anti-Morsi protests.
Another three Brotherhood members are to stand trial with them, accused of carrying out the murders in question. All six face the death penalty if convicted.
Egyptian authorities have issued arrest warrants and detention orders for hundreds of Brotherhood members and detained several senior leaders of the group in recent days. According to security sources, at least 2,000 have been arrested since August 14.
On Friday, only a few thousand took part in marches called by the Brotherhood across Cairo, sharply down from the hundreds of thousands who had turned out in previous demonstrations.
The government has said it is to develop a plan for a new constitution and elections. The Muslim Brotherhood rejects the plan, calling instead for the reinstatement of ousted President Morsi.
jm/ccp (Reuters, AP, AFP)