News / Middle East

In Court, Egypt's Morsi Insists He Is Still President

Brief Morsi Court Appearance Ends in Shouting, Protesti
November 04, 2013 6:16 PM
The first brief session in the trial of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was engulfed in shouting and protest. It adjourned abruptly Monday after defendants began chanting and Mr. Morsi declared he remains the legitimate president of Egypt. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
Elizabeth Arrott
From president to prisoner.

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi made his first public appearance since his ouster in July - at a criminal court in Monday. 

But it was over almost as soon as it began.  Morsi's trial was adjourned shortly into the first session, after defendants began chanting in protest. Reports from inside the courtroom say Morsi, who was deposed by the military after popular protests, rejected the proceedings, telling judges he remained the nation's legitimate president.

Morsi and 14 members of his Muslim Brotherhood and former government face charges of inciting murder during protests against him last December.  If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.

The start of the trial was delayed because Morsi rejected wearing the traditional white jumpsuit of defendants. Security was on high alert after a last minute switch of venue to a police academy on the outskirts of Cairo, the same complex where Morsi's predecessor, the also-ousted Hosni Mubarak, was tried.

  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi protest Morsi's trial in front of the supreme constitutional court in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 4, 2013.
  • A supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi raises his poster during a protest in front of the supreme constitutional court in Cairo, Egypt, Nov. 4, 2013. The Arabic text reads, "no to the coup."
  • A riot policeman stands guard behind barbed wire outside of a police academy compound where the trial of ousted President Mohammed Morsi is being held, Cairo, Egypt.
  • This image made from undated video posted on the website of the el-Watan newspaper on Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, shows ousted President Mohammed Morsi during his detention at an undisclosed facility in Egypt following his ouster.
  • Supporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi raise their hands with four raised fingers, which has become a symbol of the Rabaah al-Adawiya mosque, where Morsi supporters held a sit-in for weeks that was violently dispersed in August, 2013.
  • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi chase after journalists, who they claim to be pro-army, in an attempt to get them to leave the area outside the police academy, where Morsi's trial took place, Nov. 4, 2013.
  • A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi stands next to a poster of Morsi during a protest outside the police academy, Nov. 4, 2013.
  • A supporter of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi cries while holding his poster and a "Rabaa" poster (R) outside the Egyptian High Court in Cairo, Nov. 4, 2013.
  • A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi shouts slogans outside the police academy, where Morsi's trial took place, on the outskirts of Cairo, Nov. 4, 2013.
  • This image made from video broadcast on Egyptian State Television shows ousted President Mohammed Morsi speaking from inside a mesh cage as he stands with other defendants during a court hearing at a police academy compound in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, Nov. 4
  • Supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi pray outside the police academy, where Morsi's trial took place, on the outskirts of Cairo, Nov. 4, 2013.

The interior ministry has deployed 20,000 security forces to forestall more of the unrest that has seen more than 1000 people killed since Morsi's overthrow and authorities began a crackdown on his supporters and other Islamists.   

Members of the Anti-Coup Alliance took to the streets across the nation again Monday against what they see as a purely political trial, focusing on court buildings in Cairo and elsewhere.

Yet many Egyptians defend the moves against Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president.  Political sociologist Said Sadek of the American University in Cairo argues the former president's brand of Islamist politics would have left the country in ruin.

"The whole world would have condemned the Egyptians: 'You saw your country was being destroyed.  Why didn't you take action? Why did you stand still and watch like zombies your country being destroyed?" Sadek questioned.

Many express faith the judiciary will act fairly, and that the trial represents a return to the promises of Egypt's revolution of 2011.

But where some see the expression of popular will, others see the re-emergence of Egypt's bedrock force.  

Professor Christian Donath of the American University in Cairo. "Even the most powerful can sort of fall from grace. But of course the question is how they fall from grace and who is putting these leaders on trial and I think, you know, a key player in this is the military," Donath said.

Donath said that is something Egypt will have to deal with, once again, for a long time to come.

State media say Morsi's trial is set to resume January 8.

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Comment Sorting
by: Prince from: India
November 05, 2013 6:36 AM
Ballots decided Mr.Morsi as Egypt's president. Even now a free and fair election will surely bring Mr.Mosi and Freedom & Justice Party back in power. Unelected Military & Military's Judiciary will not tell the will of Egyptian People. It will tell the will of Upper class whom benefited from the long Military rule against people's will.

by: wahab Oyedokun
November 05, 2013 5:21 AM
It is difficult to relate with people who cannot stick to principles. No to democracy if it will not bring drunkards and sexual perverts to power. Yes to military dictatorship if that is what it takes to shut Islamists or righteous people from power. Don't we have Christian Democrats in Europe. Are there parties not gaining power. It is easier to burn down one's house than to remove the prejudice in one's mind. Some people are dying of Islamophobia.

by: ali baba from: new york
November 05, 2013 3:21 AM
morsi is losing his mind. he was removed by massive protesters because he was a failure presidents. he let Isla mist thugs do whatever they wish. .including violent especially against women and Christian. He is an idiot who refuse to understand. he refuse to understand that Islam is not the solution. he refuse that Egyptian hate violent and they understand that he use religion as a tool to destroy the country. if he has a mind, he should accept the reality. he should step down without violence . He chooses violence and he has to get the consequence. let him stay in jail

by: PermReader
November 05, 2013 3:03 AM
So the American bipartisan broadcasting support the Islamists in Egypt by the false pretext of "defense of the democracy ".Show the crowds of anti-Islamists,please.

by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
November 04, 2013 10:32 PM
I wonder if there was no way to elect a new president aviding by the current Egyptian constitution. If so, we can not help sayng there is no real democrasy even after Arab's spring in Egypt. Is it possible for the military to give birth such a reform of political system?

by: spek30 from: us
November 04, 2013 1:36 PM
Shame on the so called preachers of Democracy ... when you dont approve some policies you dont imprison them ... you beat them at Ballot ... but Egypt military is born to save Isroel and Amereka so they brought the legitimate president ousted is a mockery of west to give 1 year to a new president trying to undo decades of Dictatorial mess ... where are Human Rights Liars...
In Response

by: ali baba from: new york
November 05, 2013 3:32 AM
Muslim fanatic does not believe in democracy. Muslim believe of dictatorship .look and their behavior and you reach into conclusion that Muslim are liar when they said that they are looking for democracy .From all political events from the past .it is proof that Muslim are not educated enough to believe in democracy

by: Akeen nyanut from: Juba South Sudan
November 04, 2013 12:28 PM
Peace in egypt willnot be achieved when muslim brother hood union is still existing.
In Response

by: Rachid from: Cairo
November 05, 2013 8:09 AM
So u r racist. That s the new regim s view. 30 years of fascism and u wanna change in 1 year. Poor american democracy. Military coup is just a step to the darkness.
In Response

by: ali bba from: new york
November 05, 2013 3:24 AM
yes. Muslim brotherhood should be removed from all over the world including US and Europe

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
November 04, 2013 7:21 AM
This marks the difference who is pro-Egypt and who is selfish in their determination to hold Egypt to a stranglehold. Mubarak quickly yielded power understanding that Egypt belonged to him as well as it belonged to all of Egyptians and so did not say who was or was not legitimate to try him him an Egyptian court. But Morsi, islamist and pro-Muslim Brotherhood, wants the islamist agenda or no Egypt. This is the difference. But It is at the same time too premature to start court proceedings on recalcitrant pigs in the brotherhood, knowing how unyielding they can be.

Never has the path to democratization been smooth, but transitions start and fail until a good and final step arrives at an auspicious time. Perhaps Egypt's time will come as soon as Sissi agrees to take part in an election, be voted in as president -the ovation is good and high for him to win any election now - so he can hold the army at bay for a long period during which time all military installations capable of derailing democracy must be dismantled. Proving stubborn as Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are doing at the moment can only prolong the transition, worsen relations among dissenting factions in the country and give dictatorship more rein.

I do not agree that Muslim Brotherhood wins all the elections in the country by free and fair means, instead they win by coercion and conscription. In fact the Muslim Brotherhood rule is worse than any military dictatorship. Egypt is too strategic in the world to be allowed to drift under a Muslim Brotherhood rule. If Mohamed Morsi will not answer to any court order, it is not new, he did same while in office making himself a potentate. Then he should be jailed for as long as he wishes to stay so till his trial is carried out and the transition restarts. Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood are the trouble in Egypt right now, as always. Once they are solved, Egypt will return to the part of gainful democratization.

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