The Cairo Criminal Court, headed by judge Mohamed Farid, postponed on Saturday the trial of 738 defendants, in the case known as the “Rabaa sit-in dispersal”, to 22 May to continue hearing the defence’s pleading.
The defendants face charges of arranging an illegal assembly, use of force, premeditated murder, the possession of weapons and bombs, obstruction of roads, and endangering public order.
The outlawed Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group’s supreme guide, Mohamed Badie, and many of its most prominent members, such as Mohamed El-Beltagy, Essam Al-Eryan, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Bar, and Osama Yasin, are among the defendants involved in the case alongside the independent photojournalist Mahmoud Abu Zeid, known as Shawkan, as well as others.
The case has stretched into its third year, as the first court session was held on 13 December 2015. Defendants remained in pre-trial detention for almost two years before referral to court. A group of the defendants were released due to health issues.
Shawkan was arrested among other journalists who were later released; however, he remains in jail despite filing all the required documents to the court that prove he was assigned to cover the sit-in’s dispersal.
The Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in was violently dispersed by security forces in August 2013, and hundreds were arrested, most of whom are currently on trial. The protesters were demonstrating against the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.