The 85 year-old Muslim Brotherhood has “never committed violent acts”, the Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie told the Shubra Al-Kheima Criminal Court during his trial on Sunday.
Badie faces trial alongside Freedom and Justice Party Secretary General Mohamed Al-Beltagy, conservative preacher Safwat Hegazy and 45 other defendants charged with inciting violence and blocking the Cairo-Alexandria agricultural road in Qaliub in July 2013.
The Shubra Al-Kheima Criminal Court postponed the trial to 7 June for the final verdict. During Sunday’s session, Badie, Al-Beltagy and Hegazy were allowed to testify in their own defence.
“During its early years, the Muslim Brotherhood faced the Jews and was feared by them for years,” Badie told the court. He added that he had “worked in Egypt’s universities for 50 years and never even used verbal violence”.
While Badie applauded the Egyptian judiciary, he said that he was “unjustly” charged.
Hegazy stated that the court case was “politicised”, denying to the judge its criminal nature.
“How come the prosecution never pressed charges against those who protested in Tahrir Square in the same manner it pressed charges against us?” Hegazy asked.
Al-Beltagy spoke next, saying that his 51 years of age saw him ascend to become a medical professor at Al-Azhar University. “How can I suddenly, in eight months, become the leader of this international mafia that allegedly burns, kills and destroys?” Al-Beltagy said, in reference to the charges pressed against him in light of his role in the Muslim Brotherhood and its Freedom and Justice Party.
Al-Beltagy, whose teenage daughter Asmaa died on 14 August last year during the forcible dispersal of the pro-Mohamed Morsi Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in, said he would be “honoured to follow [in the footsteps of] our children who became martyrs for this country”.
Other defendants charged in this case include: former Supply Minister Bassem Ouda, former Youth Minister Osama Yassin and the Brotherhood’s internal mufti Abdel Rahman Al-Barr.
The Brotherhood’s Supreme Guide Badie faces a slew of other charges in separate cases. He is among 638 who were sentenced to death on 28 April by the Minya Criminal Court for allegedly killing two policemen and breaking into the Edwa Police Station on 14 August.
Badie also stands trial alongside 50 others for purportedly “forming an operations room to direct the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group to defy the government during the Rabaa sit-in dispersal, and spread chaos in the country [by] breaking into police stations, government institutions, private property, and churches”.
Al-Beltagy and Hegazy are also being tried for partaking in the kidnapping and torture of two police officers during the Rabaa sit-in.
These trials are part of a series of other trials that began against Brotherhood figures after the ouster of former president Morsi last July, who himself is in detention and faces four separate trials.
Additional reporting by Hend Kortam