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Morsi Is Defiant As Trial Opens, Then Is Delayed Until January

Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi rallied outside the police academy in Cairo where his trial was opened, and quickly adjourned, on Monday.
Khaled Desouki
AFP/Getty Images
Supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi rallied outside the police academy in Cairo where his trial was opened, and quickly adjourned, on Monday.

The trial of ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi opened and then was quickly adjourned Monday in Cairo.

The judge ordered a delay to Jan. 8 after Morsi refused to recognize the court's legitimacy or wear a prison uniform, and after Morsi and other defendants disrupted the proceeding with chants that included "down with military rule, this is a state not a military camp."

As Merrit Kennedy reported for NPR, Morsi had not been seen in public since his government was toppled on July 3 in a coup. Egypt's military says it removed Morsi because of growing anger and public protests over how the nation's first democratically elected president and his Muslim Brotherhood supporters were governing.

Morsi's government, elected after the 2011 toppling of President Hosni Mubarak's regime, was in power for only about one year.

Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders have been under arrest for allegedly inciting violence that led to the deaths of Egyptians who protested against his government. NPR's Leila Fadel said on Morning Edition that there were demonstrations Monday outside the heavily guarded area where the trial is being held — both Morsi's supporters and opponents were there.

Leila also reported that Morsi looked well. "He doesn't look like he's been hurt" during his time in custody, she said.

According to the BBC:

"Early on Monday [Morsi] was airlifted into the sprawling Police Academy compound [where the trial is being held] by helicopter. ...

"The former president was seen from a distance in civilian clothes, Egyptian radio reported. ... No television pictures were broadcast from the court although journalists were allowed in.

"As he entered the courtroom, Mr. Morsi refused to remove his blue suit and put on the required white prison uniform. The defendants, who were being held in a cage in the courtroom, chanted 'illegal, illegal.'

"When asked to give his name, the former president gave a defiant response, according to reporters inside the court.

" 'I am Dr. Mohammed Morsi, the president of the republic. I am Egypt's legitimate president. I refuse to be tried by this court,' he was quoted as saying."

Update at 9:45 a.m. ET. Video:

Some video from today with images of Morsi has been posted here.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.

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