At Trial, Morsi says he’s still Egypt’s Leader

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from The Wall Street Journal,

Former President calls coup that ousted him a crime and a humiliation, claims that he is being help against his will.

Former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi appeared in public for the first time since his July ouster, defiantly insisting at the start of his trial Monday that he is still the nation’s leader and challenging the legitimacy of the authorities who charged him with murder.

The hearing quickly descended into chaos with loud chants of support for the Islamist leader and accusations of state torture interrupting proceedings. There were also calls for Mr. Morsi’s execution.

The former leader and 14 members of his Islamist Muslim Brotherhood group are charged with inciting the murder of civilians during his presidency. He could face a life sentence or death if convicted.

Mr. Morsi was Egypt’s first freely elected president after the popular uprising that forced out longtime authoritarian President Hosni Mubarak in February 2011. However Mr. Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood were accused of monopolizing power and he was ousted in a military coup on July 3.

He had not been seen in public since. The military-backed interim government that took over held Mr. Morsi virtually incommunicado in undisclosed locations without access to lawyers.

The public caught its first glimpse of him when he appeared in court, looking healthy and confident. He was dressed in a dark suit after he refused to wear the traditional white prisoner uniform.

During a roll call of those charged, Mr. Morsi declared from the wire cage where defendants are held: “I am president of the Republic,” after he identified himself as Dr. Mohammed Morsi.

“There was a coup and I’m being held against my will. The coup was a humiliation and a crime,” Mr. Morsi said in one of several interruptions during the hearing. “I don’t want the great Egyptian judiciary to serve as a cover for the standing military coup.”

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