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Egypt's Morsi deserves to be honoured, not prosecuted, over Ittihadeya Palace clashes

Every now and then, I laugh hysterically when I read news stories on old or new trials for defendants accused of killing protesters while the "murder machine" still continues unabated, claiming lives of tens of protesters daily or weekly without holding anyone accountable.

Every day witnesses the killing of protesters, sometimes in large numbers, similar to what happened last Friday, January 25, when more than 60 protesters were shot dead with live ammunition.

It has become absurd and comical when we speak about the prosecution of those who killed protesters. These prosecutions are focused on the pre-June 30 events. After June 30 don't dare ask who killed protesters. There are no lawsuits, no accusations and there's no sympathy, not even hypocritical sympathy, with the thousands of young men, women and children killed during protests following the coup.

We are prosecuting the former president Mohammed Morsi on charges of killing two protesters in front of Ittihadeya Palace while in office. Comparing what is happening now with what used to happen during Morsi's presidency, Morsi deserves to be honoured.

Thousands of opposition protesters besieged his palace and threw firebombs and rocks, setting fire to it and breaking its gate. We watched these scenes on satellite channels which broadcast the footage. Despite all that, Morsi did not order guards to shoot at protesters or kill anyone.

The two deaths Morsi is on trial for took place two days later; neither had been shot at by police or the army. They were killed amidst clashes between supporters and opponents of the president. If scores of protesters stormed the palace, set it ablaze and none were killed, then the president deserves an award for managing this crisis with self-restraint and for preventing bloodshed.

Should similar angry mobs who oppose Al-Sisi or Adly Mansour attempt to besiege the palace now and set its corners on fire, the news the following day would be of hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths.

A protest outside the social club of the Presidential Guards ended up with the killing 100 protesters with live bullets; a sit-in in Nasser City ended with the death of 4,000 protesters; 80 were killed in one protest in Ramses Square; and the count goes on.

A fair comparison with the events at the Ittihadeya requires granting the ousted Morsi a medal of honour for his patriotic sense and for respecting the blood of his fellow countrymen when his palace was blockaded and his life was endangered. I am saying that regardless of any political disagreement over any of his policies. We may agree or disagree on his policies and we often criticized him.

In Ittihadeya, the death toll was 10 protesters. Yet, the court is only reviewing the killing of two. I only hope the prosecution adds the names of the eight others who were killed in these clashes, because, unsurprisingly, they were all supporters of Morsi. In other words, in this battle, the fatalities on the side of Morsi supporters exceeded those of his opponents. May they all rest in peace. Supporters or opponents, they all sacrificed their lives for what they thought was a patriotic end. At that time, we did not hear the minister of interior threatening to use live ammunition.

Morsi made many mistakes and we expressed our opposition to him and his group (the Muslim Brotherhood) while they were in power. However, in this specific incident and in the official attitude towards protests, a fair observer can only attest that Morsi was the most concerned about preserving the blood of Egyptians.

The media castigated a Muslim Brotherhood protester who slapped a female protester during Morsi's rule. This was definitely an unethical act however; it is regrettable today that we don't deplore the mass killing of female protesters and their being shot in police headquarters with live bullets. Such news stories are passing unnoticed.

For these reasons I laugh when I listen to news of the killers of protesters being prosecuted. In Egypt now we are going through the most absurd and farcical moments in our modern history.

This article was first published by Al-Mesryoon 

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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