News / Middle East

Egypt on Edge Ahead of Morsi Trial

An Egyptian woman holds a portrait of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during a protest in Nasr City in Cairo, Nov. 1, 2013.
An Egyptian woman holds a portrait of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during a protest in Nasr City in Cairo, Nov. 1, 2013.
Elizabeth Arrott
Security is tight ahead of the trial of Egypt's deposed president Mohamed Morsi, set to open Monday in Cairo.  Animosity is running high on all sides, and a renewed wave of anti-Americanism prompted by the visit of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry adds to the tensions.

Morsi is charged with inciting murder during clashes outside the presidential palace last year, sparked by his temporary claim of extraordinary powers.  Fourteen other senior members of his Muslim Brotherhood and his former government are also being tried.  Other charges are pending.

It is unclear if Morsi will appear in person, or by video link.  He has been held in an undisclosed location since he was toppled by the military July 3rd, following mass protests. 

A member of his legal team has rejected the court's jurisdiction.

Ahmed Abdel Gawad said they did not recognize the legal proceedings.  But in conceding the trial would go ahead, he insisted there must be a live, international broadcast of all sessions. 

In contrast to evidence presented in the trial of Egypt's other ousted president, Hosni Mubarak, political analyst Hisham Kassem thinks the case against Morsi could be strong.

“Unlike Mubarak, Morsi did not have the services supporting him when he came under. Again unlike Mubarak he was not very clever about covering his face and I think he is going to end with enough evidence presented to be there a number of serious cases against him,” said Kassem.

Tensions are running high as the military-backed government continues its crackdown against Morsi supporters and other Islamists.  Human Rights Watch said Saturday that 1,300 people have died in confrontations since July and asked, "What will it take for authorities to rein in security forces?"

Most of the anti-interim government protests are peaceful, recently spreading to university campuses.  But there are also attacks on security forces, especially in the Sinai peninsula, by militant Islamists.   Pro-government media often conflate the protests and attacks as terrorist movements.

With Islamist media largely shut down, most remaining media have adopted a pro-military stance.  One of the nation's most popular political satirists, Bassem Youssef, who delighted audiences by poking fun at the Morsi government, was taken off the air Friday after he skewered the current wave of neo-nationalism.

One of the few issues most Egyptians can agree on - anti-Americanism - has been highlighted by the visit Sunday of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.  Both pro- and anti-military forces feel Washington has not done enough to support their side, and officials have spoken of how they are seeking alliances elsewhere.

The U.S. suspended some aid to the new government, but will continue cooperation on counter-terrorism and other key issues, including peace negotiations between Israel and  the Palestinians.

Political analyst Kassem thinks relations will weather the current storm.

“I think we are seeing here the reality of the situation which is how deep Egyptian-American relations are and what we see as a crisis is really of face value, but behind closed doors there is a very solid relationship,” he said.

However, solid international ties may be, new fractures within Egyptian society appear almost daily from a myriad of sources.  Nine people were killed in Assiut Saturday - not over politics, but in a dispute sparked by who was first in line to buy bread.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: jazz alter from: lagos, lagos.
November 04, 2013 3:09 AM
Oh yes, by my supreme knowledge àbt life coupled with my past life activities whn i was d fuehrer of german reich before i committed suicide in my bunker.though my book is undergoing publication in little bit of advert for my i was sayn d way morsi was removed ìs unfair.d military would have allowed his term before removn him through d ballots by playn him down.but as i heard if morsi were only being economical with his own religious party in govt then he was wrong too.he would have been secular by accomodatn everybody by applying wisdom.he was not tactical enough and that was his undoing.and u know d military were always ready to monopolise power whenever d c their powers were being threatened.but they should give him fair judgement without àny execution.bcos all of us must go beyond d barricade.thats my own verdict.thanks.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs