CAIRO: The 3-judge panel presiding over a trial of 76 Al-Azhar Students recused itself Saturday after it was learned that one of the supporting judge’s sons was involved in the investigation, Youm7 reported.
Presiding judge Shaaban Shamy referred the case to the Cairo Court of Appeals to appoint a new panel.
The Attorney General accused the 76 defendants on Dec. 28, 2013 of organizing a protest to sabotage public and private properties in Al-Azhar University, threatening the employees with using violence against them, attacking two judicial officers, disturbing the public order, setting building of the Faculty of Commerce on fire via using Molotov cocktails. The accused did not appear in court Saturday.
A member of defense team asked the court Saturday to release the female defendants, as they lost a year in remand custody without being convicted; however, Shamy replied the court cannot give any decision and the case would be referred to the court of appeal, adding “who told them to protest?”
The protests came few days following the former interim government presided by Hazem al-Beblawy designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group on Dec. 25, 2013 a day after bombing targeted the Dakhalia Security directorate in which dozens people were killed and injured.
On Nov. 23 100 Al-Azhar students were sentenced, in different courts over inciting violence charges, to different verdicts ranging from five to three years in prison. Five of the students were sentenced to 5 years in prison and fined 100, 000 EGP ($ 14,000) for each.