An Egyptian court on Sunday adjourned the trial of 51 Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, on charges of plotting to sow sedition during the forcible dispersal of Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in after the defense lawyers filed for recusal.
During the hearing, which only lasted for a few minutes, the presiding judge allowed one of the defendants to sign the recusal request before adjourning the session, a judicial source told Anadolu Agency.
Cairo Court of Appeal, for its part, has already set Tuesday as the date to start examining the recusal request.
In February, Egyptian prosecutors referred the Brotherhood leaders to criminal court on charges of setting up an "operations room" during last August's dispersal of a sit-in staged by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.
The defendants are accused of "masterminding a plot to sow chaos and storm and set afire police stations, state institutions, public and private property and churches."
Prosecutors also accuse the Brotherhood leaders of "coordinating with e-committees to disseminate doctored images about people killed and wounded protesters.
Hundreds were killed when security forces violently dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya and Giza's Nahda squares.
The dispersal came a few weeks after Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected leader, was deposed by the army following demonstrations against his one-year presidency.
The Egyptian government then launched a sweeping, sustained crackdown on the ousted president's supporters in which the Rabaa dispersal is widely seen as having been a turning point.
In a report released in February, Egypt's state-run National Council for Human Rights (NCHR) said that a total of 632 pro-Morsi protesters had been killed in the dispersal.
The NCHR went on, however, to accuse sit-in organizers – along with Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood group – of allowing "armed elements" into the protest camp and targeting security forces.
The National Alliance for the Defense of Legitimacy, Morsi's main support bloc, has slammed the NCHR report as "a pack of lies."
By Sayed Fathi
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