Tawfiq Okasha, Egyptian TV head, denies calling for Morsi's murder


Tawfiq Okasha, owner of TV station al-Fareen, is on trial for denouncing Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.



Tawfiq Okasha, who runs TV channel al-Faraeen, has denied calling for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's death as his trial opened in Cairo Saturday.

"I merely criticized President Morsi," Okasha, who has been charged with incitement, told judges, Agence France Presse reported. "This is a political trial. The Muslim Brotherhood wants to silence all dissent and reproduce the system from before the revolution." 

Al-Fareen was ordered off-air on August 16 after it aired a show that was seen as virulently anti-Morsi and anti-Muslim Brotherhood, BBC News reported.

Around 300 of Okasha's supporters protested his trial outside the courthouse on Saturday, where they clashed with pro-Morsi protesters, al-Ahram Online reported

More from GlobalPost: Mohamed Morsi vs. Egypt's Press

Okasha is known as a critic of the political party and the country's new leader, even arguing that Morsi's presence in the presidential palace is "illegal," the Egypt Independent reported

Islam Afifi, the editor of opposition newspaper al-Dustor, has also been charged with criticizing Morsi, and was being kept in custody until the President passed a law banning the pre-trial detention of journalists, BBC reported.

Under the same law, Okasha has been released until October 3, when his trial will readjourn.