News / Middle East

Morsi Trial Raises Tensions in Divided Egypt

Morsi Trial Raises Tensions in Divided Egypti
October 15, 2013 3:56 PM
The trial next month of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi is expected to heighten political divisions in the volatile nation and test the credibility of Egypt's judicial system. VOA's Elizabeth Arrott has more from Cairo.
Morsi Trial Raises Tensions in Divided Egypt
Elizabeth Arrott
The trial of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi that is set to begin November 4 is expected to heighten political divisions in the volatile nation and test the credibility of Egypt's judicial system.

Morsi stands accused of inciting murder and violence during riots last year outside the presidential palace in Cairo. Other charges are pending.

In a nation torn between supporters of his Muslim Brotherhood and backers of the new military-led government, the split is becoming ever more defined.

On the one side, Morsi's detractors.

This man says any Egyptian who has lived on Egypt's soil, drank from the River Nile and betrayed Egypt must be tried and executed.

Deep split widens

On the other side, Morsi defenders.

Abdel Azeem said he believes all the charges are fabricated.

And then there's the position of the accused himself. Veteran diplomat Abdullah al Ashaal advised Morsi during his presidency. "Morsi is stuck to the idea that he is still the president and he doesn't accept the jurisdiction of the court,” he said.

Al Ashaal sees the trial as purely political. "His crime was that he is a civilian and he dared to sit on the place of a military.”

Yet others defend Egypt's judiciary, noting that Morsi's predecessor, old-guard president Hosni Mubarak, also is on trial.

Legal system gets tested

Political analyst Saad Eddin Ibrahim, of the Ibn Khaldun Center, said the judiciary is up to the task. "The fact that there are trials, and that there is due process and that the accused, even though he is a president, a former president, will have his day in court testifies to these two aspects."

Unlike Mubarak's trial, however, it is not clear if Morsi's will be made public. Indications are the case could be heard in secret in Cairo's notorious Tora prison.

And there seems to be no quick end to Egypt's cycle of protest, overthrow and trial. At a recent anti-government rally at Cairo University, more cries for “justice” could be heard.

This student demands that anyone - including military leader General Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim - who has killed others must be brought to trial.

Such talk further stokes controversy around recent leaks, denied by the government, that el-Sissi has sought a protected position in his role as defense minister in the new draft constitution.

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Comment Sorting
by: 4thHorsemanoftheConfedera from: Northeast Arkansas
October 16, 2013 3:15 PM
Although Egypt has prime real estate (the canal) , the USA does not need to have an Egyptian ally..too costly an investment for little return

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 15, 2013 2:46 PM
This trial is rather in a hurry. Egypt should settle down before moving forward with trials. Anything done in hurry always ends up in chaos. The interim government should not dance to please anyone, if the environment is not paved for a safe prosecution of the trials, why try to whip up more protests when the dust of the previous one has not settled? The Muslim Brotherhood does not want peace to return to the country and it has continued to protest even when it knows its demand has become unpopular. But the trouble is there is no way the country can kick-start any process, be it political or judicial, to move away from the inertia without first quelling the unrest in the land.

Maybe it is the wish of the people fomenting the unrest to have the current arrangement in place for a longer time. In as much as it is the wish of the people engendered by the demonstrations, it is common knowledge that every other process must wait until there is peace. And the interim administration must ensure good governance until such a time as the Egyptians themselves are ready to move forward. Surely when Egyptians become weary of the Muslim Brotherhood delays, they will place it where it belongs, maybe by calling a day of rage to dislodge it democratically or by mob action.

by: ali baba from: new york
October 15, 2013 2:31 PM
Egypt is not divided between morsi supporters and the army. most of Egyptian do not like Muslim brotherhood. .supporters of morsi are few and they paid to demonstrate and they are getting fewer by the time. morsi supports are fanatic and violent .they have no respect to human being and they are cool blooded murders
In Response

by: Hassan from: Suez
October 23, 2013 6:31 PM
Ali baba. Violent is the military and the old Mubarak government. Why was Morsi elected, if the egypt people do not like him??
You are a puppet of the old guard, which will be blown away soon.
The only ones who have killed people in their hundreds where your friends from the army and secret police. We will punish you and your freinds soon.

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