Trial of ousted President Morsy may add to turmoil in Egypt
CAIRO — Egypt's new military-backed government had hoped that trying Mohamed Morsy would close the chapter on his presidency. Instead, the trial of the ousted Islamist on charges of inciting murder, which begins on Monday, is only compounding its troubles.
Morsy's supporters plan widespread protests on the day of the trial, threatening to disrupt the proceedings. Security concerns are so high that the venue for the trial has not been formally announced, though it is expected to be held in a heavily secured police academy in Cairo.
Then there is the political risk of Morsy's anticipated first public appearance since the military deposed him on July 3 and locked him in secret detention, virtually incommunicado. Morsy likely will represent himself in the trial, the first public figure to do so in the host of trials of politicians since autocrat Hosni Mubarak's ouster in 2011, Muslim Brotherhood lawyers say. He will use the platform to insist he is the true president, question the trial's legitimacy and turn it into an indictment of the coup, further energizing his supporters in the street.
If Morsy is not brought to court at all, his absence will further throw into question the fairness of the trial, which rights experts say is in doubt. Morsy's Brotherhood has denounced the trial as a farce aimed at political revenge.
During four months of detention in undisclosed military facilities, Morsy has been extensively questioned and has not been allowed to meet with lawyers. Virtually his only contact with the outside world was two phone calls with his family.
Brotherhood supporters have called the detention an outright kidnapping, and Morsy has refused to cooperate with his interrogators.
Rights groups say the first test in the trial will be when the judge rules whether Morsy should be brought out of secret detention and moved to a regular prison during the trial. Authorities have said military detention is necessary for security reasons in the country's turmoil.
Further weighing on the trial's fairness, Morsy will be tried in a judicial system stacked with his adversaries, with whom he clashed repeatedly during his yearlong presidency.
Rights activists — even ones who believe Morsy should be tried for abuses during his presidency — fear the proceedings are more concerned with retribution than justice. And the trial is taking place in the atmosphere of a large crackdown on the Brotherhood and its Islamist allies in which several thousand have been arrested and hundreds killed.
For the military-backed government, the trial is key to showing its plan for political transition toward democracy is on track. Authorities want to show the international community, sharply critical of the anti-Brotherhood crackdown, that they are justified in moving against the Islamist group by proving Morsy committed real crimes.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Beleaguered Burkina Faso leader steps down
- Smuggling dragnet snares Colombians visiting Venezuela
- Iraqi peshmerga troops join Kobani fight
- Mexican police questioned in slaying of 3 Americans
- Muslims get some access to mosque
- Iran executes woman who claimed man she killed had tried to rape her
- Everything is America’s fault, Putin says
- Israelis label relations with U.S. ‘critical,’ lament state of ‘crisis’
- European Central Bank fails 25 banks in health check, but problems largely solved
- Clashes erupt at West Bank funeral for teen
- Cuba to build first church in 55 years