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One day to go before the trial begins. A couple of days ago was Friday, and as usual this is the day the Brotherhood supporters rampage through town terrorizing people and threatening all sorts of violence. Added to the usual Friday, this was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for Monday November 4, 2013, the day set for the beginning of Morsi’s trial. It was nothing special. The numbers are deteriorating, and although the police ensured that none of the main squares were occupied, none of the Brotherhood even attempted to invade any of those squares.
There are 14 people, besides Morsi, who are supposed to stand trial, but 7 of them are still at large. It seems that according to the law Morsi has the right to refuse to appear before the judge. In such a case the police are forced, by law, to leave him where he is and report to the court the accused’s refusal to attend. The court then would issue a decree requesting the police to bring in the accused, by force if necessary. So the next court session he will have to go. Some people think that he will not avail himself of this right as he might be brought in the next session in handcuffs!
This is the first case against Morsi and he is accused of inciting to kill the demonstrators in front of Al Itihadeya Presidential Palace last December.
What had taken place at the time were very large demonstrations against Morsi, in protest to his Presidential Decree on November 21 where he gave himself absolute power sweeping aside all legislative and judicial checks and balances. These demonstrations marched from all over town and congregated in front of the Presidential Palace. Morsi was in residence at the time. The first line of defense was the plain-clothed militias of the Brotherhood. These were caught on film, through numerous clips taken by mobile phones, showing how these members of the militia would pinpoint some hapless individual then pounce and abduct him from the midst of the other demonstrators and drag him to their lines and their supporters, which happened to be next to gate number 4 of the Place. There, those abducted were lined against the wall of the Palace’s fence and interrogated, beaten and tortured until bloodied, some stripped. There were around 49 individuals who were blindfolded, beaten and tortured. This too is captured on film and the interrogators and torturers were clearly photographed. Of those tortured on film are three people who stand out. The first is an Egyptian Ambassador a retired diplomat, the second was a Christian Engineer, and the third was a house Porter whose place of work was right there next to the Palace. These three people were very badly beaten right there and all this is documented. Besides these there were quite a few who were shot dead, one of them being Al Husseiny Abu Deif, a well know photojournalist who was photographing the Brotherhood members who were shooting at the demonstrators. He was shot at very close range, in the head with an unidentified type of weapon whose ammunition fragmented into several pieces on entering his head. This is premeditated murder. His camera was then stolen. Several young activists were killed that day.
Next came the testimony of the Head of the Presidential Guard who, on being questioned, admitted that Morsi had given him orders to use their armored vehicles in stopping the demonstrators from reaching the Palace fence by either shooting them or running them down. The Head of the Guards refused, stating that it was his job to safeguard the President and he will do his job as he sees fit.
Those who were held by the Brotherhood, and some who were even taken into the Palace, were finally turned over to the police who took them to be interrogated by the District Attorney for that area. The District Attorney started interrogating those brought to him, the next day. On that day Morsi came out with one of his rambling speeches in which he accused all those turned over to the police of being people who were paid by the opposition to escalate unrest against Morsi, and that they had admitted to that. While his speech was going on, the District Attorney had finished with his interrogations and released all those turned over to him by the Brotherhood for lack of any evidence. This caused great embarrassment to Morsi and his Brotherhood. The Brotherhood Attorney General was furious that one of the Attorneys reporting to him should do that and in retaliation issued a decree with immediate effect, to remove that District Attorney from that area and assigned him to Upper Egypt, which is traditional banishment. But the situation was different this time as this was a very high profile case and had great media coverage, so in the face of the storm that broke out, the Attorney General backed down and rescinded his order.
All these facts are publicly known through the media and mainly through Youtube where all those clips were posted and seen worldwide. I am sure there is far more damning evidence to the case which is still not public knowledge. So we are all eager to follow this trial which, as announced, will be covered live by television. Although there are a few voices asking for media blackout, yet the majority are asking for media coverage to show what he is accused of and what the evidence against him is, as well as what sort of defense will be put up.
Meanwhile the Brotherhood are planning to have as many demonstrators on the streets as they could gather to cause as much disruption as possible. If last Friday, was an example, there won’t be much of that. The police are taking all precautions and it is said 14 thousand soldiers have been assigned to ensure the safety of the prisoners and that of the trial. Already the police are now guarding all entrances to Cairo to ensure that the Brotherhood does not import their personnel from the different districts all over Egypt to help those in Cairo. The coming few days will be very interesting.