The three judges presiding over the trial of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood general guide Mohammad Badie have withdrawn from the proceedings at the start of a session on Tuesday citing “reasons of conscience”.
Prior to their decision to step down the judges ordered that the defendants continue to be held in custody.
“The judges are retiring from this case for reasons of conscience and the accused must remain in detention,” head judge Mohammed Fahmy al-Qarmuty told the court at the start of the session, without elaborating, according to Agence France-Presse.
Badie and his two deputies , Khairat al-Shater and Rashad al-Bayoumi are facing charges of inciting the murder of protesters against ousted president Mohammad Mursi who stormed the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters on June 30
A total of 32 other defendants are being prosecuted along with Badie, Shater and Bayoumi. None of the 35 defendants were in the court on Tuesday, AFP reported.
The Islamist’s group leader is also due to stand trial in a second case in connection with the deaths of seven people on July 16 on the sidelines of a demonstration in Cairo calling for Mursi’s reinstatement.
Several top figures in the Brotherhood will stand trial along with Badie at a date that is yet to be decided, the sources added.
Since the overthrow of Mursi by the army on July 3, more than 2,000 members of the Brotherhood have been arrested.
The military-backed interim government also launched a crackdown on pro-Mursi protest camps in August, at least 1,000 people were killed in the clashes.