Egypt to try Brotherhood chief for 2013 Cairo clashes

Egypt on Tuesday referred Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie to trial for staging a protest at a Cairo square where several police and hundreds of Islamist protesters were killed in 2013 clashes.

Badie, who has already been sentenced to death in two other trials, was charged in connection with the killing of policemen when security forces dispersed the protest at the capital's Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square on August 14, 2013.

Security forces stormed two protest camps of supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi in Rabaa Al-Adawiya and in Nahda Square, also in Cairo, that day.

At least 817 demonstrators died in Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square alone, Human Rights Watch has said, calling it "one of the largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history" in Egypt.

The interior ministry said at least 10 policemen were killed after coming under fire from protesters during the unrest.

Badie and several others were referred to trial Tuesday for "organising and participating in an armed gathering… and for murdering citizens and policemen," a prosecution statement said.

It did not specify how many other accused were referred to trial along with Badie. They all face the death penalty if convicted.

They are charged with "attempting to carry out terrorist objectives to disrupt public peace and security", "resisting the authorities" and "terrorising the Egyptian people," the prosecution said.

"The accused carried weapons and explosives, launched armed marches that attacked citizens, held citizens in tents and physically tortured them and used firearms against police when they arrived to disperse the gathering" at Rabaa Al-Adawiya, it said.

Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square was recently renamed Hisham Barakat Square in honour of the state prosecutor who was assassinated in a June 29 car bombing in Cairo.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, was ousted by then army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after mass street protests against his year of rule.

An ensuing police crackdown targeting his supporters has left hundreds dead and thousands jailed.

Hundreds more, including Morsi, have been sentenced to death after speedy trials.

The Muslim Brotherhood, which made major political gains following the 2011 ouster of longtime Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, was designated a "terrorist group" in late 2013.

Jihadists, including from the Egyptian branch of the Islamic State group, have carried out a wave of attacks on security forces following the crackdown.

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