The trial of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has been adjourned until Jan. 8, due to Morsi's refusal to accept the trial as legitimate. Morsi and 14 other senior Muslim Brotherhood officials are being charged for inciting murder during his presidency.
Morsi told the court that he is Egypt's "legitimate president" and the proceedings hold no jurisdiction over him despite the military coup that overthrew him July 3. Security officials told CBS News the original delay of the trial was due to Morsi's refusal to wear the prison uniform, a result of his rejection of the validity of the trial.
Cameras were banned from the courtroom, but CBS News reporters said the court room erupted in chaos numerous times, with lawyers arguing, Egyptian journalists shouting for "execution," and Morsi supporters chanting, "Down with the military rule." At one point Morsi even contributed to the disruptions with an outburst:"I am Dr. Mohammed Morsi, the president of the republic. I am Egypt's legitimate president."
Morsi continued: "I refuse to be tried by this court."
Morsi also refuses to be represented by lawyers, telling the court he will represent himself. If convicted, Morsi could face the death penalty.
Throngs of Egyptians gathered outside the police academy that was turned into a make shift courtroom for the trial. The venue of the trail was switched to the academy at the last minute, in hopes of thwarting the protesters from the Muslim Brotherhood that had planned to rally for the deposed leader. Security was at an all-time high with police dressed in protective gear, multiple armor vehicles deployed and police helicopters hovering over the venue.
The trial has had a polarizing effect on the country with some supporting the military-backed leadership of Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, while others continue advocating for Morsi.
"The trial is a joke," protester Haysam Youssef, an accountant, told USA Today. "Morsi is still the president of Egypt and we will protect him with our lives."
This is the first public appearance Morsi has made since his removal. The army has held him in an undisclosed location since the insurgency.
Egypt's current government is hoping to resolve the political dispute that has divided the nation but claim the Brotherhood is undermining its efforts.
"The government realizes from its side the importance of reconciliation," Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaa el-Din told Reuters. He accused the Brotherhood of hampering reconciliation.
Human rights activists say the only way to reconcile the two parties in Egypt is by giving Morsi a just trial.
"They should present Mohammed Morsi in court and grant him a fair trial, including the right to challenge the evidence against him," Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International's deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in statement to USA Today. "Failing to do so would further call into question the motives behind his trial."
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