EGYPT Four appear for Cairo trial on insulting Mursi

Defendants deny throwing shoes, stones at presidential motorcade

By Ramadan Al Sherbini, Correspondent
August 16, 2012

Cairo: An Egyptian court on Thursday started a trial for four people charged with throwing shoes and stones at a motorcade of President Muhammad Mursi earlier this month.

The hearing started later than scheduled amid tight security. The defendants and their relatives repeatedly chanted: “Free revolutionaries. We will complete the march.” They were echoing a famous slogan frequently chanted by opponents of the military who ruled after Hosni Mubarak’s ouster in a popular revolt more than a year ago. The military handed over power to Mursi on June 30.

The defendants - a housewife, a student, a worker and a private security guard - were arrested on August 6 when they were attending a mass protest against the Islamist leader over a deadly attack against Egyptian border soldiers in the border town of Rafah near the Gaza Strip.

Authorities have also charged the four of chanting “hostile and defamatory” slogans against Mursi. 

The defendants denied the charges. Their lawyer, meanwhile, told the Misdmeanour Court in Cairo that the defendants did not mean to offend the president. “They were just infuriated, like all Egyptians, by the Rafah crime,” added the lawyer. "They were just expressing their anger," he added.

The court postponed the trial hearings to August 25.

Prosecutors last week referred a TV station boss and an editor of an opposition newspaper to a criminal court trial on charges of inciting the murder of the president and insulting him.

The trial has raised fears among pro-democracy activists that Mursi and his group, the Muslim Brotherhood, plan for a crackdown on freedom of expression.

Mursi is Egypt’s first elected civilian and Islamist president.

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