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Lawyers confirm referral of Rabea dispersal case to court

Defense lawyers were granted access to documents in a case pertaining to the forced dispersal of the Rabea al-Adaweya Square in 2013. The lawyers confirmed that the case was referred to court and includes 746 defendants. 

According to lawyer Khaled al-Masry, case documents were referred to the Appeals Court, which has been tasked with determining the chamber and trial sessions. 

Secrecy had long shrouded the case, with reports circulating of its referral to criminal court, but lawyers had been unable to access the referral order. 

According to Masry, the case includes 746 defendants out of the 1,000 people that were arrested on August 14, 2013. Four hundred defendants remain in detention, while the rest have been released pending investigations over the past two years.

The fate of photojournalist Mahmoud Abou Zeid (popularly known as Shawkan), however, remains unknown. While Masry confirmed to Mada Masr that he is among the defendants in the case, lawyer Ahmed Abdel Naby said that this is not yet clear, since lawyers have not had a chance to properly review the documents, which total around 100,000 pages.

A statement was issued by the general prosecution last month announcing the referral of Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and other leading members of the group to a criminal court on charges of murder, attempted murder, organizing and participating in “an armed sit-in” at Rabea al-Adaweya, possession of weapons with the intention of assault, blocking roads and occupying and sabotaging public buildings.

It was not clear whether photojournalist Shawkan, who was arrested while covering the dispersal, was referred to court in the same case as the other detainees. He has been imprisoned for two years and had exceeded the maximum period for pre-trial detention days after the prosecutor’s announcement. Earlier this week, the Free Shawkan Campaign declared that he had begun a hunger strike in protest of his detention. 

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