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Morsi ordered to stand trial in protester deaths

  |   Sept. 2, 2013 at 2:30 AM
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CAIRO, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi was ordered to stand trial on charges of inciting the killing of 10 peaceful protesters outside the presidential palace.

Fourteen other Islamists leaders, including Essam Erian, former vice chairman of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, were also ordered to stand trial on the same criminal charges of "incitement to murder and violence" during December sit-ins outside the Heliopolis Palace, the state prosecutor said.

The trial's date is expected to be announced shortly, state newspaper al-Ahram reported Monday.

The Brotherhood had no immediate comment.

Most of the Brotherhood's leadership, including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat el-Shater, are in custody on murder and other charges. More than 1,000 people -- mostly Islamists -- were killed in an anti-Islamist clampdown by the army and police that began last month.

The prosecution said late Sunday an investigation found the Republican Guard and the minister in charge of police defied a Morsi order to break up the protesters' sit-in outside the palace, al-Ahram said.

Morsi's aides then called on their supporters to break up the sit-in, the prosecution said.

Tens of thousands of protesters had rallied outside the palace gates Dec. 4-5 to protest Morsi's decree granting himself unchecked power to help push through a new Constitution written by Islamists.

Angry mobs of Islamists battled secular protesters with fists, rocks and firebombs outside the palace.

Three senior Morsi advisers resigned during the clashes, blaming him for the bloodshed.

The current military-led regime -- which ousted Morsi July 3 after massive protests against his rule after just a year in office -- is in the process of changing the Constitution to erase Islamic articles.

The changes are part of a political "road map," or "constitutional declaration," by military-appointed President Adly Mansour.

The road map calls for amending or replacing the current Constitution and envisages parliamentary and presidential elections early next year.

Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, has been held incommunicado since the army removed him.

The United States and the European Union have urged Cairo to release the former leader.

Morsi is also being investigated for espionage.

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