Judge in Brotherhood trial withdraws, case indefinitely adjourned

Egyptian head judge Mohammed Fahmy al-Qarmuty (C) presiding in the second trial hearing for Muslim Brotherhood supreme leader Mohammed Badie and his aides speaks at the start of the session in Cairo on Oct. 29, 2013. The judges are retiring from this case for reasons of conscience and the accused must remain in detention, al-Qarmuty told the court.

CAIRO, Egypt (Reuters) - The trial of three senior Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders on charges of inciting violence was halted on Tuesday after the judge said the court felt "unease" over the case.

Judge Mohamed Amin Fahmi al-Qarmouty announced the decision at the start of the session and referred the case to another court.

The case against Mohamed Badie, General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, and his deputies Khairat al-Shater and Rashad Bayoumy is part of a campaign against the Islamist movement waged by the authorities since the army overthrew President Mohamed Mursi on July 3.

Hundreds of Mursi supporters have been killed, at least 2,000 arrested, including Mursi, and a court order has banned the movement.

The three defendants are charged with incitement to violence in connection with an anti-Brotherhood protest near the group's Cairo headquarters on June 30 in which nine people were killed and 91 wounded.

Hundreds of thousands of Egyptians had taken to the streets at that time in protests against Mursi's rule.

"The court decided...to withdraw from looking at the cases because it feels unease," Qarmouty said.

He did not elaborate.

None of the three accused, who are being held in detention, were present in court on Tuesday. The judge said the prosecution should ask the Interior Minister to ensure they would be able to attend the next session.

Mursi, who was Egypt's first freely-elected president and came to power following the uprising that toppled strongman Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, himself is due to appear in court on Monday also on charges of inciting violence.

The new government has promised to hold elections next year. The United States slashed its aid to the Egyptian military pending progress on democracy and human rights.