An Egyptian court has set a trial date for Muslim Brotherhood leaders in a move likely to enrage supporters of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
It came as US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns met the army chief amid intense efforts to try to resolve the political crisis since the army ousted Morsi in a July 3 coup.
Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie, who is currently in hiding, and his two deputies – Khairat al-Shater and Rashad Bayoumi – who are being held in Cairo’s Tora prison, are accused of inciting violence against protesters outside the Islamist group’s headquarters on June 30.
They will face trial on August 25 together with three Brotherhood members who are accused of killing protesters.
Morsi himself has been formally remanded in custody on suspicion of offences committed when he escaped
from prison during the 2011 revolt that toppled former president Hosni Mubarak.
Sunday’s announcement comes after army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met Burns, a military source said, stressing the need for national reconciliation based on an army-drafted roadmap providing for elections in 2014.
Sisi earlier met Islamist leaders to try to mediate a solution with Morsi supporters who have staged two major sit-ins for more than a month demanding his reinstatement.
Several days of heated diplomatic activity in the Egyptian capital have seen visits by Burns, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and an African Union delegation lead by former Mali president Alpha Oumar Konare.
Supporters of Morsi – Egypt’s first freely elected president – see his ouster by the military as a violation of democracy and have insisted that nothing short of his reinstatement would end their protests.