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Muslim Brotherhood leader Badie’s trial resumes

The supreme leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie's trial resumed on Tuesday.

CAIRO: The supreme leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie's trial resumed on Tuesday.

It is the culmination of a crackdown on the Brotherhood that started last July, when the Egyptian army deposed Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, after just one year in office.

In the aftermath, many Brotherhood leaders were arrested or forced into exile.

Badie and 46 others now face charges including inciting violence, espionage and terrorism.

But many think that a fair trial is impossible.

The trial of Badie is one of the Muslim Brotherhood -- from the sudden end to Morsi's presidency, to the brutal government crackdown, a new chapter of violence in Egypt's blood-spattered history had begun.

With thousands of Brotherhood members now on trial, supporters are wondering who will be held accountable for the hundreds of deaths that followed the pro-Morsi sit-in last year.

Hamza Abdo, a 25-year-old student at Al-Azhar University and a Muslim Brotherhood supporter, was lucky enough to be at work when security forces dispersed the Brotherhood sit-ins.

But he lost many friends, and one year on, wants to see their killers brought to justice.

Hamza said: "I will be reassured if I know that everyone who killed someone will be brought to trial. I think that’s the only solution – not the return of Morsi or the disappearance of (Abdel Fattah al-) Sisi… but that for everyone who was murdered in the street, we find out who did it, and he will be tried.”

But Hamza is powerless against a system that prohibits him from speaking. He has no faith that the deaths of his friends will be avenged.

Political Science Professor Timothy Khaldas at the Nile University believes the repression will lead to an escalation of violence.

Prof Khaldas said: “If you close off all peaceful means to power, and all institutional and legal means to political participation, you invariably are going to see an extra-legal response. Sometimes it is going to be in the form of (an) illegal protest, and sometimes it is going to be in the form of violence.”

Abdullah El-Haddad, the Muslim Brotherhood's representative in the United Kingdom, cannot go back to Egypt because he is wanted by the Egyptian authorities who have labelled the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation.

He hopes that the Muslim Brotherhood will continue to practise non-violent resistance, even as the government crackdown continues.

Abdullah said: "I think the verdict, maybe it will be the worst; maybe it will be five years’ prison (or) 25 years. But it will not, I believe it will not matter because this peaceful resistance will continue until the coup is removed.”

Abdullah is closely following the trial of Badie and the 46 other Brotherhood members who are now in court.

He is not the only one who is strongly invested in the outcome.

Human rights lawyer Amir Salem was himself a prisoner under Hosni Mubarak's regime. He specialises in criminal law and has been working on the cases against the Brotherhood for over a year.

Amir said: “What I know very well is the whole other cases which are full with evidence, and I think it will be heavy sentences for many of them.”

Badie's trial will set a precedent for how other Muslim Brotherhood members on trial can expect to be treated.

For now, the world can only watch and wait as the former heroes of the revolution become its villains. 

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