Mohamed Morsi is on trial facing a host of charges including conspiring to commit acts of terror in Egypt.
Mohamed Morsi is on trial facing a host of charges including conspiring to commit acts of terror in Egypt.Reuters

Defence lawyers for ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi have walked out of his trial in protest at the former leader being placed in a soundproof cage.

Morsi and his co-defendants have been confined in a glass cage in recent court appearances to prevent them from shouting and disrupting proceedings.

Egypt's state television reported that Judge Shaaban el-Shamy ordered a recess after the lawyers left the hearing. The trial has now been adjourned until 23 February and the court said it will appoint a new defence team.

The Islamist former leader and 35 others are accused of working with the Lebanese group Hezbollah, the Palestinian organisation Hamas and Iran's Revolutionary Guards to carry out acts of terror in Egypt.

Morsi was brought to Cairo's police academy on Sunday morning by helicopter from the Burj al-Arab prison, where he is being held.

The former president, who was ousted by the military last July, is facing four separate trials, three of which have now opened.

Mohamed Morsi (R) stands with other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood in a cage in a courthouse on the first day of their trial.
Mohamed Morsi (R) stands with other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood in a cage in a courthouse on the first day of their trial.Reuters

The glass cage was introduced after Morsi and his co-defendants interrupted court proceedings by talking over the judge and chanting slogans. The cage gives the judge complete control over whether or not the defendants can be heard.

The accused said the cage prevents them from following court proceedings but the judge insisted that headphones installed inside the dock allows them to listen.

At one point during the hearing when Morsi could be heard, he told the panel of judges: "What are you so afraid of? Are you afraid because you have no public support?"

Since Morsi was deposed, Egypt's leadership has severely cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood, with senior figures from the organisation such as supreme guide Mohammed Badie and former presidential candidate Khairat al-Shater facing a range of charges including terrorism, inciting violence and protesting illegally.

At least 1,000 people have died in clashes between Morsi's supporters and security forces. Thousands more have been arrested since the former president was removed from power.