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Morsi trial adjourned after brief court appearance

Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi [BBC backgrounder] appeared in court in Cairo on Sunday in his trial [JURIST report] for espionage and conspiring to commit acts of terrorism. Morsi continues to reject the allegations against him, and the trial has faced a number of setbacks, following his court appearance [JURIST report] in early November. Sunday's trial was adjourned [Al Jazeera report] shortly after it began, when the judge denied a request from Morsi's defense lawyers to remove the soundproof glass enclosure in which Morsi and the other 35 co-defendants were placed. Morsi's lawyers argued the glass prevented him from hearing the proceedings and communicating. When the judge refused to remove the glass cage, the lawyers exited the courtroom. The trial was adjourned until February 23 [WP report].

Egypt has dealt with political unrest since the Egyptian Revolution [JURIST backgrounder] began in 2011. Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive], which was banned [JURIST report] by the Egpytian government in September 2013. Morsi's trial signifies Egypt's political transition from the authority of the Muslim Brotherhood into a new regime. Morsi appeared before the court earlier this month, but the trial was adjourned [JURIST report] to give a committee of media members time to inspect video evidence the court declassified for the trial. Last month, Egypt's interim president Adly Mansour [BBC backgrounder] announced [JURIST report] that Egypt will hold presidential elections before conducting parliamentary elections. Also last month, Egypt ratified [JURIST report] a new constitution by 98% of votes on January 19, marking the first Egyptian vote after the overthrow of Morsi.

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