Egypt gears up for trial of two leaders on same day

Precarious new reality

CAIRO - The trial of the top leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi hails, will start Sunday, with charges against them including inciting violence and killing protesters.
The prosecutor's office announced that the Muslim Brotherhood's General Guide Mohamed Badie, who was arrested Tuesday, would appear at criminal court on Sunday.
"Badie, along with his two deputies, Khairat al-Shater and Mohamed Saad al-Katatni, will appear at court tomorrow (Sunday), they face criminal charges including inciting violence and killing anti-Morsi protesters outside the Muslim Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau," according to a prosecution statement.
Badie's detention was renewed for another 15 days pending investigations over new charges of killing and torturing opponents of Morsi at two major squares where the Islamists had rallied.
Since the military's dispersal of the two pro-Morsi sit-ins in Cairo and Giza on Aug. 14, nearly 1,000 people, including some 100 policemen, have been killed in the ensuing clashes between Morsi's loyalists and the security forces. Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members were reportedly arrested then.
The Islamists have planned marches on Friday to express their opposition against the military's move and the detentions of Morsi 's supporters. But the rallies turned out to be small in scale, while clashes between Morsi's supporters and opponents killed two people in the Nile Delta city of Tanta during the Friday marches.
At the same time, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is to be retried on murder charges over the death of hundreds of protesters during the 2011 uprising that toppled him.
A court on June 2, 2012, sentenced Mubarak and his former interior minister, Habib al-Adli, to life. The nation's Cassation Court overturned that verdict on January 13 this year.
A second trial opens on Sunday, August 25.
Mubarak was placed under house arrest Thursday after a court ruled him eligible for release pending trial on outstanding murder and corruption charges.
With Egypt mired in a deadly conflict between the military-installed government and Islamists, Mubarak's transfer took place amid little fanfare or protest.
He was ordered released after his lawyer argued Mubarak's stay in prison had exceeded the maximum pre-verdict detention, and Mubarak made financial amends for one of his charges.
He still faces trial for corruption and his role in the deaths of protesters during the uprising that toppled him, with his next hearing on Sunday.
Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, empowered with the authority to order arrests under the current state of emergency, ordered Mubarak to be placed under house arrest after release from jail.
Mubarak chose to be held at the military hospital, the official MENA news agency reported.
The decision to grant Mubarak pre-trial release added a volatile new element to the political turmoil that has gripped Egypt since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3 following massive protests against him.
Authorities have arrested dozens of members of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, including its supreme guide Mohamed Badie -- the first time the group's chief has been arrested since 1981.
Morsi himself is being held at a secret location and faces charges related to his 2011 escape from prison and inciting the death and torture of protesters.
The juxtaposition between the fates of the two ousted presidents, Mubarak and Morsi, is notable, analyst Hisham Kassem said.
Mubarak "committed numerous crimes... against the country, but managed to hide the evidence, particularly as all the state's institutions were working for him at the time he was overthrown".
"The opposite is true for Morsi, who was thrown in prison while all the state's apparatus were against him."