Morsi's prison escape trial due to begin

Photo: Morsi's prison escape trial due to begin / Arab World

Egypt's toppled Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, is expected to face a court in Cairo on Tuesday on charges relating to his escape from the Wadi al-Natrun prison in 2011, dpa reported.

Tight security arrangements is in place around the Police Academy, in the outskirts of the Egyptian capital. Similar arrangements were made when Morsi faced a separate trial in November for inciting the murder of protesters.

Morsi and 130 others are accused of abducting police officers and storming prisons during the uprising against former president Hosny Mubarak. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood argues that the charges brought against him are politcally motivated.

The co-defendants in the case include Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, former parliamentary speaker Saad al-Katatni, and members of the Palestinian Hamas and Lebanese Hezbollah Islamist movements.

The session is due to be aired live on state television.

Morsi, who was ousted by the military in July after mass protests against his controversial one-year rule, had been arrested soon after the start of anti-Mubarak protests, in late January 2011.

A few days later he escaped from the Wadi al-Natrun prison complex, located on a desert highway 160 kilometres northwest of the Egyptian capital.

A large numbers of prisoners, including political detainees, were freed from Egyptian jails during the 18 days of the country's 2011 revolution.

Many have blamed the security vacuum that emerged on January 28, when police forces withdrew from their positions.

Morsi, who became Egypt's first democratically elected president in June 2012, is also due before a court on Saturday for the second session of his trial for his alleged involvement in the murder of protesters.

He faces two further trials on charges of conspiring with foreign organizations to harm national security and defaming the judiciary.

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