'I am still president': Defiant Morsi slams re-trial

'I am still president': Defiant Morsi slams re-trial
2 min read
27 February, 2017
In the first session of a re-trial on charges that Mohamed Morsi orchestrated a prison break during the 2011 revolution, the former president blasted court officials.
Morsi was deposed in a military coup in July 2013 [Getty]

An Egyptian court on Sunday adjourned a case against former Egpytian President Mohamed Morsi on charges of orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising that led to the toppling of Hosni Mubarak.

Sunday's session marked the first of a retrial which is now set to resume on 29 March.

The case includes 26 additional defendants, some members of the now outlawed Muslim Brotherhood movement, who stand accused of premeditated and attempted murder in addition to helping as many as 20,000 people escape prison.

In July 2015, a criminal court sentenced Morsi - Egypt's first democratically-elected president - and a number of other senior Muslim Brotherhood figures to death, handing out life sentences to 20 others.

However, the sentences were overturned by Egypt's top appeals court in November 2016.

Morsi himself escaped the Wadi el-Natroun prison during the 2011 uprising after being arrested shortly after protests against Mubarak's rule broke out in January that year.

More than 850 people were killed during the anti-Mubarak uprising, the majority in clashes between protestors and security forces.

Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders say that they were freed by local residents. However, they stand accused of orchestrating the escapes along with members of Hamas, and the Lebanese Shia paramilitary group Hezbollah.

During Sunday's trial session Morsi is reported to have rejected the court's proceedings as illegitimate stating "I am still the president", according to al-Ahram, an Egyptian state owned newspaper.

Morsi also faces another trial on accusations of leaking state secrets to Hamas and Iran in order to "with the aim of perpetrating terror attacks in the country in order to spread chaos and topple the state".

A guilty verdict in that case could also see Morsi face the death penalty.

The charges brought against Morsi were levelled after he was deposed from power in a military coup headed by current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in July 2013.

They have been criticised as "politically motivated" by rights groups including Amnesty International.