Cairo: Egyptian prosecutors on Wednesday referred six young opposition activists to criminal court to stand trial on charges of inciting violence against the ruling Muslim Brotherhood’s main office, according to judicial sources.
The defendants also face charges of damaging private property and attacking policemen who were positioned outside the Brotherhood headquarters in the Cairo suburban area of Al Moqattam, added the sources. No specific date has been set for the trial.
The prosecutors based their referral decision on written statements and footage in which the defendants incited attacks on the office as part of the “Friday of Dignity Restoration," a mass protest held in March against the Brotherhood outside the headquarters, added the sources.
More than 100 people were injured and 12 cars destroyed in the violence that followed the protest, according to official figures.
The opposition has frequently charged that the Brotherhood, from which President Mohammad Mursi hails, is seeking to tighten its grip on power.
The defendants include prominent activist Ahmad Douma, who was sentenced on Monday to six months in prison on charges of insulting Mursi and spreading false news.
The others are Alaa Abdul Fatah, Nawara Najm, Hazem Abdul Azeem, Karim Al Shaer and Ahmad Eid — all known for vociferous criticism of the Brotherhood and Mursi.
Douma was convicted of calling Mursi a “criminal killer” on a TV talk show some months ago. Douma was also quoted as claiming on the same show that Mursi is ruling “by force of weapons."
Douma’s supporters gathered outside the office of the chief prosecutor in central Cairo, denouncing the young activist’s jailing although he paid a bail of 5,000 pounds (Dh2,600) to stay out of prison pending an appeal against the sentence on Wednesday.
The opposition accuses Mursi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, of becoming an autocrat and cracking down on activists who participated in a popular revolt that ousted his predecessor Hosni Mubarak in February of 2011.