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Morsi’s ‘Phony Trial’ begins



Sakeena Suliman – Cii News | 04 November 2013/30 Dhul Hijjah 143

Egypt’s deposed President Muhammad Morsi will be brought out of the secret location he has been imprisoned at for the first time today to go on trial, facing charges of incitement of violence and murder.


“Well supposedly the trial, the phony trial is under way and I have sketched here from the legality, from the legal point perspective, that the court has no status whatsoever towards this trial,” said Professor Nidal Sakr.


Speaking to Cii Radio’s Sabahul Khair from outside the police academy where the trial is being held, the chair of The March for Justice human rights movement, called the trial and charges a “mockery”.


Morsi faces charges along with 14 other Muslim Brotherhood (MB) members and could face the death penalty if found guilty. According to Sakr the declaration of the coup made no mention of removing Morsi and only stated that the head of the constitutional court would assume the responsibility of an interim president.


But at that time the position of the head of the constitutional court was vacant because the previous head had retired on June 30.


“By constitution the new one has to take the oath in front of the sitting president. President Morsi was kidnapped at the time so no swear was made by the sitting interim president which means basically from legal perspective that president Morsi effectively and constitutionally and legally is the sitting president today and those who are putting him on trial, they have no status whatsoever and constitutionality,” explained Sakr.


Morsi and his “co-defendants’” incitement of murder charges are in connection with clashes on December 9 last year outside his presidential palace that left nine people dead. Eight of them were Morsi supporters and the other a journalist who sustained injuries and died two weeks later.


“Morsi is being tried for killing his own supporters. So that’s what a mockery it is,” says Sakr. It has been reported that the eight members’ exclusion from the case by the prosecutor will be brought up during the trial.


Even though the trial’s venue was changed at the last minute to avoid mass rallies, demonstrations continue in Cairo and around Egypt. Hundreds of Morsi supporters stood outside the academy’s barbed wire fence chanting and holding up signs of support.


There is however a heavy military presence and security is tight with close to 20 000 personnel securing the venue and hundreds of black-clad riot police backed by armoured vehicles deployed around the complex. Only authorised personnel and accredited journalists have been allowed near the facility. A heavy handed approach is expected by the military


Hosni Mubarak – toppled in the 2011 uprising – is also to be re-tried at the academy. He is accused of failing to stop the killing of protesters. After four months of military detention and very little outside communication Morsi, who has not been allowed to meet his lawyers, will be defending himself.


In a leaked video by the al-Watan newspaper on Sunday, the first images of Morsi – in a blue track suit -since his imprisonment were shown.  Sakr says reactions to the video were positive with people feeling reassured.


“This was all about Israel and … safeguarding Israeli interests and collaborating with Israel. And other foreign powers and this is all about not allowing Egypt to have its own independence and sovereignty, which was very reassuring to all of us. Supposedly this leak was an indictment from their perspective none the less it was well received by people in the streets.”


Al-Watan quoted Morsi as saying: “I will represent myself in front of any court … I am not involved in killings of the protesters … I will tell judges that.”


When the video was recorded is unknown but it has been reported it was leaked to the paper to give Morsi supporters a preview of the ousted president to lessen the impact of the shock of his first public appearance.


Egyptians were also said to be unimpressed by US secretary of state, John Kerry’s visit calling his statements “mediocre”.  To many the visit confirmed American involvement in the coup.


With mass rallies continuing, further bloodshed is expected before the end of the day. “I believe that many people see it as reigniting the revolution all over again and I trust that that’s going to be the case.”

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