Cairo, 12 November
Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi is meeting today with a team of lawyers for the first time since he was imprisoned after his 3 July ouster, his son said.
But the deposed leader, who wants to defend himself in an ongoing trial on charges of inciting murder, has not yet agreed to let the team represent him and rather wants to discuss taking legal action against others.
Mr Mursi has been held in a secret location since his removal on 3 July, and was transferred to a high security prison in the Mediterranean port city of Alexandria after the opening session of his trial on 4 November. He had so far declined legal representation.
Even though Egypt is highly polarised and the army enjoys strong support, Mr Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood has struck a consistently defiant tone, holding regular protests to oppose what they term an illegitimate coup.
Mr Mursi’s trial strategy seems in line with the group’s overall line of resisting the new political order at every turn. In the opening session of his trial, his first public appearance since his ouster, Mr Mursi called his trial illegitimate, saying the panel of judges did not have jurisdiction to try a president, and repeatedly insisted he remains the country’s leader. The Islamist leader called his trial a “cover for a military coup”.
The trial as adjourned to 8 January. At the next session, Mr Mursi is expected to say whether he will accept the defence team assembled by the Muslim Brotherhood to represent the ousted president and his co-defendants.
Osama Morsi, himself a lawyer, said that his father still had not agreed to let attorneys represent him.
“He wants to take legal actions … against others and not to defend himself,” he said before going into the meeting with his father and four other lawyers.
Lawyers on the team had told local media that they will seek to convince Mr Mursi to accept the defence team, and that it would not undercut his challenge to the trial’s legitimacy.
Mr Mursi and 14 co-defendants, seven of whom are still at large, are charged with inciting the killing of protesters who massed outside the presidential palace in December 2012 and demanded that he call off a referendum on a new Islamist-drafted constitution.
Brotherhood members and supporters attacked a sit-in by the protesters, sparking clashes that left 10 people dead. Mr Mursi and the others are also accused of inciting Brotherhood supporters to illegally hold and abuse opponents in a makeshift detention center outside the palace.