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Morsi Trial Resumes Amid Continued Unrest

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February 1, 2014

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first civilian president, was on trial again in Cairo, held in a soundproof cage so that he couldn't disrupt the proceedings as he did late last year.

Morsi and 14 others are on trial charged with urging security forces to treat protesters with violent force in the wake of anti-government protests in December 2012. Morsi was brought to the Cairo courtroom from a high-security prison near Alexandria, where he has been held after being confined to protective custody by the military following his July 3 ouster.

Morsi is also on trial on a host of other charges, including escaping from prison in 2011, in an uprising against the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak; insulting the judiciary; and conspiring with foreign elements to endanger Egypt's national security. If convicted on the most serious of charges, Morsi could face the death penalty.

The streets of Cairo and other cities have been alive with protests by Islamists and others, who have clashed with security forces in the wake of the three-year anniversary of the beginning of the revolution that drove Mubarak from power. More than 1,000 people have died in the clashes, and the number of arrested is even higher.

Meanwhile, Interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi announced a Cabinet reshuffle, including a new person as defense minister. The current holder of that office, Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is expected to announce his candidacy for the presidency any day now. Sisi is said to have broad support for his candidacy, from much of the public, from the army, and from Beblawi.

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