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The trial of the century versus the scandal of the century

According to the announcement made by the coup government in Egypt, today, November 4th, marks the beginning of the trial of President Mohamed Morsi on numerous counts. The most prominent includes incitement to the murders that occurred in front of the Itihadiya Presidential Palace last December, as well as conspiring with Hamas.


This trial is reminiscent of that of deposed president, Hosni Mubarak, after the January Revolution. At the time it was described as the trial of the century. Several of its sessions were broadcasted live and, as everyone knows, it ended with him being acquitted.

Mubarak's trial was held after a popular revolution that pressured the military establishment, which governed the country after the dictator was overthrown. It stalled in putting him and the other members of his regime on trial. The military was, after all, a part of the former regime and was seeking to restore the Mubarak regime; albeit without him as president.

Under great pressure from the revolutionaries, the military institution agreed to hold a trial for Mubarak. However, that was done only after they had destroyed all the evidence that could have led to his conviction, especially the killing the protestors during the revolution. Therefore, the trial was comical and aimed to distract the people from what the military establishment was planning to do in order to restore the Mubarak regime.

They finally succeeded in executing their plans for a coup against the elected government, represented by President Mohamed Morsi, under the pretext of the popular protests that took place on June 30, 2013. This allowed the military institution to position itself in authority once again by capturing the civilian president and suspending the constitution and elected institutions.

Knowing full well that they don't have the legitimate right to govern the country and restore the former regime, the military worked to destroy the legitimacy represented by the president by making absurd accusations and now attempting try him for them. Ultimately, they may even sentence him to death in order to get rid of the first and last democratic regime established in Egypt once and for all.

Hence they accused the president of incitement to kill protesters at the Itihadiya Presidential Palace last December, despite the fact that the victims were associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which the president is a member of. Curiously, they did not accuse the police or the other security agencies who actually committed the murders. It is also ironic that the Minister of Interior, who was involved in killing the protestors, is that one securing the president's trial today.

The other comical accusation to emerge is that of conspiring with Hamas, despite the basics of political governance affords the president of the republic the right to secretly communicate with any country in the world in order to achieve his country's interests. Accordingly, the accusation of conspiracy can only be applied to the president if he communicated with an enemy in a manner that harms the country's interests. Significantly, the coup-makers haven't told us that Hamas has become an enemy, while Israel has become a friend, contacted as it were night and day. Moreover, what is the harm done to Egypt's national security and interests after communicating with the head of Hamas?

The farcical nature of the whole affair is confirmed by the fact that the prosecution has refused to allow the lawyers access to the case file, even though this contravenes litigation law. They have done so because the file does not have the evidence of the charges against the president, and therefore, if the file reached the media, it will spark a new scandal for the coup-organisers, who have nothing but these absurd charges against the president.

I am almost certain that President Morsi will not be tried, and if he is, then it will end in a manner that condemns the coup-makers, not only because they have nothing to convict him with, but because the trial is a violation of the constitution and law. President Morsi is still the legitimate president because he never tendered his resignation. His trial therefore requires special measures.

To conclude, the beginning of President Morsi's trial will be the beginning of the end of the coup and the restoration of legitimacy. It will put an end to the injustice, tyranny, and oppression suffered by Egypt for 60 years under military rule.

The author is an Egyptian writer. This is a translation of the Arabic text published by Al Sharq Newspaper on 4 November, 2013

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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