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New charge against Morsi for 'insulting judiciary'


Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and 24 others, including activists who opposed him and his predecessor, will stand trial on charges of insulting the judiciary, state media and judicial sources said Sunday.

The defendants allegedly made comments in the media and online that showed "disrespect and hatred for the courts and the judiciary," state news agency MENA said.

It was unclear whether all 25 accused would be tried together.

The latest charges mark the fourth set of legal proceedings against Morsi since he was deposed by the army in July.

State news agency MENA said Morsi stands accused of giving a speech days before his ouster, when he allegedly accused a judge of overseeing electoral fraud in a 2005 vote.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected civilian president, is already on trial for inciting the killings of opposition protesters in December 2012 outside the presidential palace.

His second trial over a prison break during the 2011 uprising is to start on January 28, while no date has yet been set for his third trial on charges related to espionage.

Other defendants in the trial for insulting the judiciary include several as well as Alaa Abdel Fattah, one of the activists who led the revolt against dictator Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

He is already in detention for participating in an illegal protest in November.

Abdel Fattah has been charged over comments on Twitter several months ago about legal proceedings concerning 2011 raids on the offices of foreign civil society groups, said his father and lawyer Ahmed Seif Al Islam.

Amr Hamzawy, a well known political science professor, and human rights lawyer Amir Salem will also stand trial. The pair had backed the ouster of Morsi in July along with Abdel Fattah.

Salem, who represented families of slain protesters in Mubarak's murder trial, told AFP he has been charged over comments he made related to this case.

"I am very surprised to find myself among (leaders) of the Brotherhood and the Gamaa Islamiya after I opposed them," he said, adding he had consistently fought "for the independence of the judiciary".

The other Brotherhood leaders to stand trial include former parliament speaker Saad Al Katatni, and Mohamed Al Beltagi, the secretary-general of the Brotherhood's political Freedom and Justice Party.

Egyptian judicial sources, meanwhile, said the Brotherhood's supreme guide Mohamed Badie will stand trial with more than 50 other supporters of Morsi on February 1 for inciting violence that left two people dead in the Nile Delta city of Qaliub, shortly after the ouster of Morsi.

It will be the third trial of Badie and include other Brotherhood figures such as Beltagi and Essam El Erian.

Badie and 14 other Brotherhood members are already on trial for inciting violence in the Cairo neighbourhood of Bahr Al Aazam that led to deadly clashes in July.

Badie and his two deputies, Khairat Al Shater and Rashad Bayoumi, are also being tried on separate charges related to the deaths of protesters who stormed the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters on June 30.