CAIRO (Reuters) – Three leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood go on trial in Cairo today on charges of inciting lethal violence during unrest that preceded the army’s overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi.
Mohamed Badie, the Islamist movement’s “General Guide”, and his two deputies, Khairat al-Shater and Rashad Bayoumy, will not attend the High Court session, the state news agency MENA said.
The trial signals the determination of Egypt’s new army-backed rulers to crush an organisation they have portrayed as a violent, terrorist group bent on undermining the state.
The Brotherhood, which won five successive votes after the fall of former President Hosni Mubarak in 2011, says it is a peaceful movement unjustly targeted by the generals who ousted Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected leader, on July 3.
The military contends it was responding to the people’s will, citing vast demonstrations at the time against the rule of a man criticised for accumulating excessive power, pushing a partisan Islamist agenda and mismanaging the economy.
Mursi has been in detention in an undisclosed location since army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi deposed him.