March 12, 2014
Morsi misses court hearing after bad weather
The trial of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on charges of inciting murder of protesters was postponed today until Feb. 1 after officials said that bad weather had prevented him being flown to court.
The military-backed government has cracked down hard on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood since his overthrow, arresting almost its entire leadership and thousands of its backers as well as formally declaring it a terrorist organisation. The Brotherhood says it is committed to peaceful activism.
The case against Morsi pertains to violence outside the presidential palace during unrest in late 2012 ignited by a decree that expanded his powers. Around a dozen people were killed at the time. Fourteen other Islamists are standing trial with Morsi.
He had been due in court on Tuesday for the second session of his trial, in which he could face the death penalty.
State media earlier reported that Morsi, who is being held separately from other Muslim Brotherhood leaders at a jail near Alexandria, had arrived at the Cairo police academy where the court was due to convene.
But the state news agency MENA, citing a senior security official, later reported that bad weather meant Morsi would most probably not be taken to court, where riot police in body armour were deployed in nearby streets.
Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim, in comments reported by MENA, said the pilot had been worried about taking off "because of bad weather and thick fog in Alexandria".
He denied reports that Morsi had refused to attend after Essam el-Erian, another Islamist politician on trial in the same case, told reporters in the courtroom that he had not shown up for that reason.
Fog in Alexandria forced one commercial flight to be redirected to Cyprus on Wednesday morning, the director of the airport in the Mediterranean coastal city said.
The military deposed Morsi, who won Egypt's first freely contested presidential election, on July 3 after mass protests against his rule.