The trial of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s deposed president, on charges of incitement of violence and murder has been adjourned until January 8.
Morsi’s appearance on Monday at a police academy in an eastern Cairo district was his first public appearance since his military-orchestrated overthrow on July 3.
Morsi faces charges along with 14 other Muslim Brotherhood figures and allies – including Mohamed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian – in connection to clashes last December outside his presidential palace that left at least 10 dead.
Sources however told Al Jazeera that Morsi insisted he was still Egypt’s president and that the trial was illegitimate. According to sources, Morsi said that:
“I don’t like it for the judges to be part in the coup,” Morsi is reported to have said. “I am present in court only because of coercion.”
A Brotherhood-led group has called for mass rallies on Monday, while the interior minister has ordered the deployment of large numbers of security forces to guard the trial venue. In a last-minute change, authorities on Sunday switched the trial location, a move apparently aimed at thwarting mass rallies planned by the Muslim Brotherhood, the group to which Morsi belongs.
The Police Academy, where Morsi’s trial took place, is also being used for the re-trial of another former president – Hosni Mubarak – toppled in a 2011 uprising. He is accused of failing to stop the killing of protesters.
During four months of detention, Morsi has been extensively questioned and has not been allowed to meet his lawyers. He has spoken at least twice by telephone to his family and received two foreign delegations.
Mohamed al-Damati, a member of the defence team, told Al Jazeera on Sunday that:
“The defence team, which has no access to Morsi, received documents of the court case only on Saturday night, although a request had been filed more than 20 days ago.”
The daily El-Watan published a transcript of remarks it says were made by Morsi and captured on video, describing him as being “in total denial” and saying “I am the president of the republic, in accordance with the constitution”. The paper quoted him 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.”
Source: Al Jazeera, Nov. 4, 2013, http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/11/trial-egypt-morsi-postponed-2013114111233682535.html