Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood’s former president of Egypt, threw quite a tantrum at his court appearance when he was put into a soundproof glass cage and told that he would not be allowed to address the court unless he raised his hand.
Every dictator fears ending up where Morsi is now and unlike Mussolini, Morsi had a much shorter run going from prison to power and back to prison in only a few years.
This time he’s on trial for breaking out of prison, though the AP, like most media outlets, carefully avoids mentioning the charges.
Egypt’s toppled President Mohammed Morsi appeared at a new trial Tuesday wearing a white prison uniform in soundproof glass-encased metal cage, pacing and shouting angrily at the judge in apparent disbelief: “Who are you? Tell me!”
In a half hour of recorded footage aired on state television, Morsi protested being in a cage for his trial on charges related to prison breaks in 2011, yelling: “Do you know where I am?”
Morsi raised his hands in the air and angrily questioned why he was in the court. Judge Shabaan el-Shami responded: “I am the head of Egypt’s criminal court!”
This is the second time Morsi has appeared in court since the coup. At his first appearance in November, Morsi wore a trim, dark suit and appeared far less agitated, though he interrupted the judge and gave long speeches.
Authorities apparently resorted to the glass-encased cage to muffle the defendants’ outbursts, which have disrupted the previous hearing. The judge controls the microphone to the cage.
In court Tuesday, 19 other defendants appeared with Morsi. Another 110 defendants, including members of the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, are being tried in absentia.
To find out what Morsi is being charged with, you have to go to the Egyptian media.
The charges are linked to the escape of more than 20,000 inmates from three Egyptian prisons during the early days of the 2011 popular revolt. Prosecutors said defendants face charges of damaging and setting fire to prison buildings, murder, and attempting to murder several people and looting prison weapons depots while allowing prisoners from the “Hamas movement, Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Jihadists, Brotherhood [members] and other criminals” to break out of jails.
Morsi and 130 co-defendants are accused of “carrying out a plot to bring down the Egyptian state and its institutions.” Prosecutors said over 800 fighters from Gaza had infiltrated Egypt, using RPGs and heavy armaments while storming three prisons, abducting four policemen and killing several other policemen and inmates.
But in a surprise move, Morsi appointed Islamist thinker Mohamed Selim El-Awa as his defence lawyer, who shall represent him in this trial and all three other cases Morsi faces. In a separate trial for inciting violence, Morsi repeatedly refused to appoint a lawyer, saying he did not recognise the court’s authority.