Former president and fourteen Islamist leaders accused of inciting violence in December clashes head to criminal court.
Late on Sunday, Egypt`s prosecutor-general ordered the referral of cases against deposed president Mohamed Morsi and fourteen other defendants to criminal court, concerning their alleged responsibility for clashes that took place last December in front of Al-Itihidaya presidential palace in Cairo.
At least ten were killed in clashes between supporters and opponents of Morsi last December after he issued a controversial constitutional decree, which was criticized by the opposition for being undemocratic and giving the former president unprecedented powers.
The fourteen defendants include Muslim Brotherhood leaders Essam El-Erian and Mohamed El-Beltagy; Islamist preacher Sheikh Wagdy Ghoneim; head of Morsi`s presidential bureau Ahmed Abdel-Ati; deputy-head of the presidential office Asaad Sheikha; former presidential advisor Ayman Abdel-Raouf; in addition to Islamist youth Ahmed El-Mogheir and Abdel-Rahman Ezz.
According to investigators, Morsi and his presidential staff have been accused of ordering their supporters to attack peaceful protesters who assembled outside the palace to denounce the former president`s decree. The move reportedly came after the republican guards and ministry of interior refused to obey orders to attack protesters.
Morsi has been accused of inciting his supporters and aides to kill and use violence against peaceful protesters.
Ghoneim, El-Erian and El-Beltagy have been accused of inciting violence against protesters via media outlets.
A date for the immediate trial of the defendants will be announced shortly.
[This article originally appeared on Ahram Online.]