Egypt: Mohamed Morsi may stand trial on violence charges

State prosecutor refers ousted president to Cairo criminal court in escalation of crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood

Deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is to stand trial on charges of committing and inciting violence, a state prosecutor has decided in an escalation of the army-backed authorities’ crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood.

The prosecutor, Hesham Barakat, referred Morsi and 14 other Brotherhood members to a Cairo criminal court on charges of “committing acts of violence and inciting killing and thuggery”, the state news agency reported.

The charges relate to violence outside the presidential palace last December, after Morsi ignited protesters’ rage by expanding his powers.

Morsi is also being investigated over his escape from jail during the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak. He is accused of murder and conspiring with the Palestinian group Hamas during the prison break, though no formal charges have been brought in that case.

Morsi was overthrown by the army on 3 July, a year into his four-year term, following mass protests against his rule. Since then, the authorities have mounted a fierce crackdown against the Brotherhood, rounding up most of its top leaders. The security forces have also killed hundreds of Morsi supporters during protests since his downfall.

In turn, the government accuses the Brotherhood of committing acts of violence. Around 100 members of the security forces have also been killed since 14 August, when the police used force to break up pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo.

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