By Louisa Loveluck
Egypt’s first freely elected president Mohamad Morsi appeared in court in a glass-encased dock on Tuesday, charged with participating in an illegal prison break, in his second public appearance since he was deposed in a July 3rd military coup.
The case relates to the escape of more than 20,000 inmates from Egypt’s prisons during its 2011 revolution, including Mr Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The former president and 131 co-defendants, including senior Brotherhood leaders, are accused of conniving to “destroy the Egyptian state and its institutions”.
Mr Morsi cut an apoplectic figure during the hearing. Standing inside a glass box, especially fashioned to avoid the pandemonium that had ensued at a previous trial in November, his agitated shouts were broadcast on a controlled-tannoy.
“Who are you?” demanded an incensed Mr Morsi of the judge, adding “do you know who I am?”.
“Head of the Egyptian Criminal Court,” he replied. At one point, Mr Morsi said he was still the legitimate president of Egypt, and asked the judiciary not to engage in political revenge. The former president clashed with Egypt’s judges repeatedly throughout his year in office.