'Rabaa operations room' retrial postponed to March 7

Tuesday 01-03-2016 03:44 PM

Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie during one of his trial sessions - Reuters

CAIRO, Mar 1 (Aswat Mariya) - The Giza Criminal Court postponed Tuesday the retrial of the Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and 36 others in the case known as the "Rabaa Operations Room" to March 7.

The postponement was due to the absence of one of the defendants from the trial session, which was to mark the first in the retrial of the "Rabaa Operations Room" case.

The case includes 14 journalists and media workers, 13 of whom received life sentences, while one received the death penalty.

Among the defendants are Rassd News Network board members Abdullah Al-Fakharany and Samhy Mostafa.

The Court of Cassation accepted the appeals on verdicts issued against 37 of the 51 defendants in the case in December.

In April, the Cairo Criminal Court handed Badie and 13 others death sentences, while 26 others received life imprisonment. The court was then presided over by Judge Nagy Shehata, who is well-known for handing down numerous death sentences in several "terrorism" related cases.

Defendants are accused of running an "operations room ... to direct the Muslim Brotherhood group to resist the state during the Rabaa [Al-Adaweya] sit-in dispersal."

The 14 journalists and media workers were also charged with "spreading false information" and inciting violence against security forces, according to the defence lawyers statements to Amnesty International.

The lawyers denied the existence of material evidence against any of the defendants.

The sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adaweya was in support of elected Muslim Brotherhood President Mohamed Mursi, who was ousted by the military in July 2013 following mass protests against his rule. It was one of two large sit-ins which were violently dispersed by security forces leaving at least 1,000 people dead in what Human Rights Watch described as "likely amounted to crimes against humanity".

The state's Forensic Authority, however, claimed that 627 were killed in the dispersal, while the National Council for Human Rights put the death toll at 632, including eight security personnel. 

Egypt listed the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation in December 2013 and insists it is behind the wave of militancy which has targeted security personnel since July 2013.

The Brotherhood continuously denies the accusations.

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