World Bulletin / News Desk
Former justice minister Ahmed Mekki, who served under ousted President Mohamed Morsi, believes there is still a chance for Egypt's warring political camps to find a "political solution" to the crisis sparked by Morsi's July 3 overthrow.
Morsi and seven other defendants appeared in court Monday to answer charges that they had incited the murder of demonstrators outside Cairo's Ittihadiya presidential palace late last year.
Morsi's supporters insist that the charges against the ousted leader and his co-defendants are politically motivated.
But while the trial of the ousted president remains underway, Mekki says that the door is still open for a political compromise between Morsi's embattled Muslim Brotherhood and Egypt's new military-installed leadership.
"The [Morsi] trial is part of a muscle-flexing strategy adopted by both the ruling [military] authority and Morsi partisans," Mekki told Anadolu Agency by phone.
"Going ahead with the trial will close the door to political solutions, because the case [against Morsi] is primarily a political one," he added.
Monday's court session was Morsi's first public appearance since his ouster more than four months ago. Since then, he has been held at an undisclosed location by Egypt's military-backed authorities.
Trial proceedings were postponed by almost two months – they are now slated to recommence on January 8 – after defense lawyers requested more time to examine documentation related to the case.
Morsi, for his part, has refused to recognize the trial's legitimacy and has refused formal legal representation.
At Monday's first court session, the ousted leader told the presiding judge that he still represented "Egypt's legitimate president."
Morsi, Egypt's first freely-elected civilian leader, was ousted by the country's military establishment on July 3 following protests against his presidency.
Following Monday's court session, Mekki joined the chorus of criticism, asserting that the trial was politically motivated.
He went on to point out that at least eight out of the 11 people killed in last year's Ittihadiya violence – for which Morsi and his codefendants are being tried – were Muslim Brotherhood members.
"How can he be indicted for killing his own supporters?" he asked. "Or should he be charged for killing three people [who weren't Brotherhood members] while the remaining deaths are simply ignored?"
"To accuse Morsi of incitement [to murder], one of the defendants should testify that Morsi had asked him to kill [someone], which isn't the case," Mekki added.
Morsi was ousted by Egypt's military establishment on July 3 following three days of protests against his presidency.
According to Mekki, the anti-Morsi protests that began on June 30 had reflected public anger with the embattled president and his Muslim Brotherhood and had called for snap presidential polls.
"But what happened on July 3 was not in line with the people's demands," he said.
The former justice minister, however, believes that the demands raised on June 30 might still be met if "politically-motivated trials" were brought to an end.
"But the army must take the first step since it is in charge now," he said.Last Mod: 05 Kasım 2013, 15:20