, CAIRO, Feb 4 – An Egyptian court will begin hearing testimonies in the murder trial of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi from Wednesday, when a former top military officer will give evidence.
In the brief session on Tuesday, the court decided to convene again on Wednesday to hear testimony from the former head of the military’s Republican Guard, the unit tasked with providing security for Egypt’s presidents.
Morsi was present in the court, inside a soundproof glass dock to prevent him from interrupting proceedings with defiant outbursts, as he had done in previous hearings.
Morsi and 14 co-defendants, including former aides, are accused of inciting the killing of opposition activists outside the presidential palace in December 2012, an incident that hastened his overthrow by the military almost seven months later.
The Islamist, dressed in white prison garb, gestured at the court with a four fingered salute, the symbol of an Islamist protest camp violently dispersed by police in August in an operation that killed hundreds.
He had insisted in past hearings that he is still the legitimate president.
Morsi faces four separate trials, on charges ranging from contempt of the judiciary to plotting an elaborate conspiracy involving Iran and Palestinian militants to conduct attacks in Egypt.
He could be sentenced to death if convicted on several of the charges, which include collusion with foreign groups and incitement to murder.
His supporters say the military installed regime has brought trumped up charges.
Since his overthrow in July, Morsi’s once powerful Muslim Brotherhood movement is in disarray, blacklisted as a terrorist group with most of its leaders in prison.
More than 1,000 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in violence since Morsi’s ouster.
During his year in power, after the country’s first free presidential elections, Morsi faced growing resentment and accusations that his Islamist group was monopolising power.
In December 2012, Morsi’s supporters dispersed opposition activists camped outside the palace in protest at a decree granting the president extra judicial powers, sparking day long clashes.
Brotherhood activists detained dozens of opposition protesters and filmed themselves beating the protesters to extract confessions, which Morsi later cited in a speech.
The incident galvanised a disparate secular leaning opposition that culminated in mass protests in late June, prompting the military to overthrow and detain Morsi.