February 17, 2015 / 4:28 PM / 5 years ago

Deposed Egyptian president Mursi to face military court

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi has been referred to a military court for the first time, the state news agency said on Tuesday, part of a sustained crackdown against Muslim Brotherhood leaders.

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi sits behind bars with other Muslim Brotherhood members at a court in the outskirts of Cairo, December 29, 2014. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Mursi was ousted by then army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi after mass protests against his rule in 2013.

Mursi, who has been incarcerated in an Egyptian jail, is facing trial in several cases in civilian courts.

Other defendants in the case include senior Brotherhood leaders Mohammed Badie, the movement’s general guide, and Khairat al-Shater, on charges of murder and attempted murder and assaulting soldiers and burning churches in Suez City.

The case, involving 199 defendants, is focused on the deaths of 31 civilians and the wounding of 34 soldiers, state news agency MENA said.

Egypt expanded the jurisdiction of military courts in October to try civilians accused of acts ranging from attacking state facilities to blocking roads.

That followed some of the worst assaults on security forces since Mursi’s fall.

Brotherhood leaders accuse Sisi of staging a coup. He says Mursi’s removal was the will of the Egyptian people.

Sisi, who went on to become Egypt’s elected president, says Egypt faces an intense, prolonged challenge from militancy.

Human rights groups accuse the government of suppressing dissent and rolling back on freedoms won in the 2011 uprising that toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Reporting by Ali Abdelaty and Mahmoud Mourad; Writing by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Michael Georgy and Alison Williams

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