- Middle East/North Africa
The Cairo Criminal Court adjourned Thursday the trial of 269 defendants in last December’s clashes outside the Cabinet building to 31 January, when the court will hear eyewitness testimony.
Defendants including activists Ahmed Douma, Mekrem al-Sewaisy, Hany Atef, Tareq Shams Eddin, and actor Tareq al-Nahry are accused of burning the Institut d’Egypte and surrounding buildings, as well as assaulting police and military personnel, deliberately destroying public and private property, illegally assembling and disrupting traffic. The trial began in July.
The defense team demanded that the trial be acquitted based on the pardon issued by President Mohamed Morsy for protesters and that the trail be adjourned until the court makes a decision on this.
The defense argued that while the pardon decree did not specify particular cases, it stipulated a period of time, which gives the defendants the right to apply for acquittal.
The prosecutor argued that the pardon does not apply in this case.
The court said that the top prosecutor should send an official letter to the court on whether the pardon applies.
On 16 December military forces violently dispersed a weeks-long sit-in outside the Cabinet against the appointment of Kamal al-Ganzouri as prime minister by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Ganzouri served as prime minister during the Mubarak era. Protesters were also demanding that the SCAF immediately transfer power to a civilian body. At least 17 people were killed during the clashes.
Edited translation from Al-Masry Al-Youm