Morsi At the Start Of The Trial: Down With The Military Rule!

محاكمة الرئيس المصري المعزول كما تناولتها الصحف النمساوية والعالمية اليوم

Morsi and tanCAIRO – As Egypt’s new military-led government consolidates its power, Mohamed Morsi, the deposed president, went on trial on Monday in a makeshift courtroom, facing charges of inciting the murder of protesters.

But soon after the trial opened, news reports said, with Mr. Morsi defiantly rejecting its authority and proclaiming himself to be Egypt’s legitimate president, state television said the case was adjourned until Jan. 8.

The hearing was Mr. Morsi’s first public appearance since his removal from office on July 3, and, in a dizzying turn for Egypt, the second criminal trial of a former head of state in less than three years. Former President Hosni Mubarak, ousted in February 2011 and now under house arrest in a military hospital, is still facing a retrial at the same venue, the auditorium of a police academy.

Journalists who were allowed into the courtroom were not allowed to bring telephones or other communications devices, limiting the flow of information. But news reports quoted eyewitnesses in the courtroom as recounting that Mr. Morsi declared: “This trial is illegitimate,” and said he was Egypt’s lawful president.

He is charged with inciting the murders of at least three protesters in a night of street fighting between his supporters and opponents outside the presidential palace in December. But rights advocates say the charges are selective at best.

president morsiThe opening of the trial Morsi refused to wear the prison uniform. He also defended himself, rejected the legitimacy of the court and insisted he was the president of Egypt. Morsi said: “I am the legitimate president and he did not like the judiciary to be part of the military coup”.

As increasingly aggressive protesters began encircling the palace the night before the protesters were killed — even throwing Molotov cocktails over its walls — police refused to protect it. So on Dec. 5, leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood publicly called for the president’s Islamist supporters to do the job themselves, by force if necessary.

Hundreds of Islamists arrived that afternoon and forcibly evicted a small encampment the protesters had set up near the palace, and by nightfall thousands of Islamists were gathered to defend the site. Thousands of Mr. Morsi’s opponents attacked the Islamists and a night of deadly street fighting ensued, with rocks, Molotov cocktails and gunshots coming from both sides.

By morning, at least 11 people were dead, including at least eight supporters of the president and at least three non-Islamists, according to news reports. Prosecutors have not charged anyone over the Islamists’ deaths, and the charges against Mr. Morsi are related to the killing of three non-Islamists.

Mr. Morsi has been held incommunicado since his ouster, without access to his lawyer. A legal team preparing to represent him has said that he has spoken at least twice with his family over the telephone. But his supporters have said that they do not recognize the authority of the court, deeming the current military-backed government illegal and illegitimate.

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