Head of Giza Criminal Court Moataz Khafagy, who presided over the Al-Nahda sit-in dispersal case, stepped down on Sunday. Counsellor Sameh Soliman took over the 379-defendant case, according to state media.
Khafagy said he stepped down because defendant Mohamed Saad Eliwa is accused in another case of attempting to assassinate Khafagy. The panel consists of Soliman and two other counsellors.
The criminal court adjourned the trial of the defendants on Sunday to 4 January in order to continue listening to the witness testimonies.
The defendants are being tried on charges of vandalism, resisting police officers, rioting and destroying public property, endangering the lives of others, illegally occupying buildings, and hindering the implementation of the Constitution.
A previous lawsuit was filed by lawyer Mohamed Magdy, demanding the dissolution of the judging panel, particularly Khafagy for allegedly showing an “aggressive attitude” towards the defendants in press statements.
Prior to the dispersal of the Al-Nahda sit-in that was held in opposition to the ouster of the first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi by the armed forces in 2013, then interim president Adly Mansour requested that the protesters disperse the sit-in, promising them that they would not be pursued.