As the second president of Egypt to stand trial for the killing of protesters, there are important questions to be answered about the trial of ousted president Mohamed Morsi due on 4 November 2013.
What charges does Morsi face in this trial?
Morsi is charged with incitement of murder and violence during protests at the Ittihadiya presidential palace on 4 December 2012 in the clashes between Morsi supporters and his opponents. The clashes resulted in the murder of 8 persons, including at least 4 Muslim Brotherhood members as well as journalist El-Hosseini Abul-Deif. Hundreds were also injured in the clashes, and there were reports of protesters being tortured.
What is the maximum penalty in Morsi’s trial?
According to lawyer Mahmoud Ahmed of the Islamist-lead pro-democracy National Coalition to Support Legitimacy, the maximum penalty for the incitement of murder is the death penalty, or in some cases a life sentence in jail.
How many defendants are in the trial besides Mohamed Morsi? Who are other defendants besides Mohamed Morsi?
An addition to deposed president Morsi, 14 other leading figures and members of the Muslim Brotherhood will also stand trial, including: former deputy chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party Essam Al Arian, former deputy chief of staff of the presidential palace Asaad Shiha, former presidential office manager Ahmed Abdel-Ati, former presidential advisor Ayman Hodhod, leading Muslim Brotherhood figures Mohamed El-Beltagy and Alaa Hamza, Islamist media figure Abdel Rahman Ezz, Islamist youth figure Ahmed Mogheer, Salafist leader Gamal Saber, and Islamist religious figure Wagdy Ghonim.
What is the difference between Morsi’s trial and Mubarak’s trial concerning the killing of the protesters?
Mubarak stood trial because he did not protect or stop the killing of peaceful protesters in the early days of the 25 January revolution. Morsi is charged with inciting his supporters from the Muslim brotherhood to attack and kill opposing protesters. The defendants in Mubarak’s case included officials from his administration, mainly from the Ministry of Interior, including former minister of interior Habib El-Adly. The defendants in Morsi’s trial include Brotherhood leading figures and Islamsit supporters, aside from former officials in his administration team.
Will Morsi face trials for other charges?
This is the first time the ousted president has been referred to the courts since he was removed from power on 3 July. He is still being investigated by the prosecutor’s office for other charges, including espionage and the killing and abducting of soldiers and policemen.
Will Morsi appear in court on Monday?
It is unclear whether the ousted president will attend the first session of trial. Some news reports say that he may not be present at the trial for security reasons. A video conference option may be used to avoid security concerns. However, according to lawyer Mamdouh Ahmed, Morsi is required by criminal law to attend the first session of the trial in person.
What about the defendants who have not been arrested?
In accordance with Egyptian criminal law, those defendants who do not appear in court will be sentenced in absentia.
Mohamed Morsi is said to not to recognize the court’s authority. How will this affect the trial?
According to established legal prodecures, the judge will ask the defendant in the first session of the trial if he will be represented by a lawyer or if he would like the court to appoint a lawyer for him. If he refuses to answer, the judge has the right to appoint a lawyer to represent the defendant in the case.
What happened during the clashes in front of the presidential palace on 4 December 2012?
Clashes erupted between supporters and opponents of late-president Morsi over a constitutional declaration he issued in late November 2012, immuing his decisions against court appeal. During these clashes, pro-Morsi protesters attacked and violently dispersed an anti-Morsi sit-in in front of the Ittihadiya presidential palace on the morning of 4 December 2012. Throughout the afternoon and into the following morning, pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi protesters clashed violently, resulting in the death of 8 people, including 4 members of the Muslim Brotherhood and 4 anti-Brotherhood protesters.
In addition, hundreds were injured, including a number of anti-Morsi protesters who were filmed being tortured at the gates of the presidential palace by members of the Brotherhood. During the clashes, Muslim Brotherhood leaders called for popular mobilization to protect what they saw as an attack against the elected president.