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Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi appeared before a court in Cairo on murder charges and immediately was defiant, rejecting its authority. He denounced the latest confrontation in the military’s attempt to consolidate power after deposing the Muslim Brotherhood and engaging in a bloody crackdown.
Appearing together with 14 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi refused to wear a prisoner’s uniform and when asked to state his name for the court issued a defiant response. Morsi declared, “I am Dr. Mohamed Morsi, the president of the republic. I am Egypt’s legitimate president. You have no right to conduct a trial into presidential matters.”
Further rejecting the court’s legitimacy, Morsi began demanding “coup” leaders be prosecuted. Morsi’s appearance marks the first time the ousted former president has been seen in public since being removed from power by the military on July 3.
Egyptian authorities have charged Morsi with “inciting his supporters to carry out premeditated murder, and inciting the use of violence and thuggery” in connection with the deaths of ten people in December, 2012. The trial will reconvene Jan. 8.
In Cairo on Sunday, Secretary of State John Kerry urged Egypt’s generals to keep on track to restoring democracy in Egypt, but there was little indication that the United States is trying to distance itself from the country’s military government.
“There are questions we have here and there about one thing or another,” Kerry said in a press conference with his Egyptian counterpart. “I think it’s important for all of us, until proven otherwise, to accept that this is the track Egypt is on and to work to help it to be able to achieve that.”
According to State Department officials who spoke with the New York Times, while Kerry urged the Egyptian government not to carry out politically motivated arrests, he did not mention Morsi in his meetings with Egyptian officials, which included the ever-powerful Minister of Defense, General Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi.