Another Islamist politician, Essam el-Erian, on trial in the same
case cast doubt on the explanation, telling reporters Mursi had
refused to attend "because this court is unconstitutional". He did
not say how he knew this was the case.
Though the weather was fine in the capital Cairo, a commercial
flight from Dubai to Alexandria on the north coast where Mursi is
being held was redirected to Cyprus because of fog, the director of
Alexandria's civilian airport said.
Mursi had been due in court for the second session of his trial in
the case relating to violence outside the presidential palace in
December, 2012, when he was still president. He is charged with
inciting the killing of protesters and could face the death penalty.
The army deposed Mursi, who won Egypt's first freely contested
presidential election, on July 3 after mass protests against his
In his first appearance in court on November 4, he declared he was
still president, shouting: "Down with military rule".
State media earlier reported that Mursi, who is being held
separately from other Brotherhood leaders at a jail near Alexandria,
had arrived at the Cairo police academy where the court was due to
But the state news agency, citing a senior security official, later
reported that bad weather meant Mursi would most probably not be
taken to court, where riot police in body armor were deployed in
Five Mursi supporters were arrested outside the police academy,
state TV reported. Police also closed off central Cairo's Tahrir
The case relates to violence outside the presidential
palace during protests ignited by a decree that expanded Mursi's
powers. Around a dozen people were killed in the violence. Fourteen
other Islamists are standing trial with Mursi.
[to top of second column]
The army-backed authorities brought two new cases against Mursi last
month, accusing him of conspiring against Egypt with the Palestinian
group Hamas, Lebanon's Hezbollah and the Shi'ite Islamist government
of Iran, and separately charging him over a mass jail break during
the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak.
Already mounting a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, the
authorities stepped up pressure on the group last month, officially
declaring it a terrorist organization. The group says it is
committed to peaceful activism.
The government is moving forward with a political transition plan
that includes a January 14-15 referendum on a new constitution.
Overseas voting was due to start on Wednesday.
Army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who overthrew Mursi, is now
widely seen as the leading contender to be elected president in an
election that could happen as soon as April.
(Additional reporting by Omar Fahmy and Tom Perry;
writing by Tom
Perry; editing by Ralph Boulton and Elizabeth Piper)
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