The Cairo Criminal Court adjourned Monday the “Rabaa Operations Room” trial involving 52 defendants to 16 March, in order to continue hearing the defence of the remaining defendants.
In Monday’s trial session, Soltan’s defence questioned the constitutionality of two articles in the Penal Code related to the punishment of inciting murder, according to state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.
The defence also questioned the legality of the prosecution’s investigations of the defendant, since correct legal procedures were not followed during interrogations, and the defendant was not presented with evidence, Al-Ahram reported.
Political activist Mohamed Soltan was allowed to address the court from outside the soundproof cage where defendants are kept during the hearings, according to the Free Soltan Facebook page.
Sitting in a wheelchair with his father Salah Soltan, also a defendant in the case, standing behind him, Soltan spoke of his arrest and imprisonment, and the reasons behind his 408-day hunger strike.
“I cannot be made to choose between my nationality and my freedom!” said Soltan, as posted on the Free Soltan Facebook page.
Soltan has been on full hunger strike for over 400 days, before turning to partial hunger strike only two weeks ago, according to a statement by the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) on Saturday.
The court refused a request by a number of civil society organisations for Soltan’s release due to his deteriorating health condition. Instead, it considered it an act of interference with judicial proceedings, according to AFTE’s report.
The prosecution accused the defendants of setting an “operations room” for the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in and giving orders to the protesters, which “spread nationwide chaos”.
According to the prosecution, in the aftermath of the 30 June mass protests, Badie and his assistant, Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ghazlan, plotted to “spread chaos in the country, break into police stations, government institutions, private property and churches”. The prosecution said this took place with the aim of making Egypt appear ungovernable in the eyes of the international community.