Ousted President Mohamed Morsi must appear in court and be granted access to a lawyer and all his defence rights, said Amnesty International in a Sunday statement.
Amnesty’s statement comes one day ahead of Morsi’s trial, set to be held at the Police Academy in New Cairo on Monday. The trial was originally set to be held at a police institute in Tora but Minister of Justice Adel Abdel Hameed decided to move the location to the Police Academy located in the outskirts of Cairo, state-run MENA reported.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa Programme Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui was quoted in the statement as saying: “Tomorrow’s trial is a test for the Egyptian authorities. They should present Mohamed Morsi in court and grant him a fair trial, including the right to challenge the evidence against him in court. Failing to do so would further call into question the motives behind his trial.”
Morsi, along with 14 other Muslim Brotherhood members, faces charges of inciting the deadly violence that occurred outside the Presidential Palace on 5 December 2012.
He was first held on 3 July incommunicado for several weeks before charges were finally brought against him.
Hadj Sahraoui said: “His [Morsi’s] enforced disappearance is also a serious human rights violation in itself and must be ended right away. He must be either released or transferred to a recognised place of detention and immediately given regular access to his family and lawyers.”
The Amnesty statement said that Morsi has only been allowed contact with his family once since his detention and that his lawyers have only been allowed access to the 7,000 page full case file on 30 October after paying a fee of EGP 15,000, just a few days ahead of the trial.
Hadj Sahraoui said that “unacceptable obstacles” were being placed before the defence team.
The Legal Team for Coup Victims said last week that the Morsi will not recognise the court’s authority. The legal team added that no lawyer will represent Morsi who does not recognise the trial.
A statement by the Muslim Brotherhood on Sunday described the charges brought against Morsi as “fabricated”.
“President Mohamed Morsi is no longer an ordinary individual but is now a symbol for high values,” the statement said. “Now, the putschists, fascists want to put these values behind bars.”
The Anti-Coup Alliance had called on Saturday on all Egyptians to gather outside the trial of the “legitimate, elected, kidnapped [former] President Mohamed Morsi.” However, that was before the trial location was moved to the outskirts of Cairo.
The alliance had issued a statement last week calling for daily protests from Friday until the set date of the trial, under the name of the “Trial of Popular Will”.
Ministry of Interior spokesman Hany Abdel Latif said if the protests are peaceful, we will secure them and if they stray from peacefulness, we will use teargas. He added that if the protesters are armed, live ammunition will be used by the police.
Abdel Latif said there is a comprehensive security plan for Monday and that security is on alert in all governorates and on all highways.
The Ministry of Interior said Saturday that it will use all means possible to prevent “chaos” that might stem from protests announced by pro-Morsi supporters.
Minister of Interior Mohamed Ibrahim has inspected the trial hall, surrounding area and all roads leading to the police institute on Saturday, a statement by the ministry read. The statement said the ministry has a security plan that ensures that any “scheme to obstruct justice” will be aborted.
In addition to security preparedness for the trial, the Ambulance Authority is going to be on maximum alert starting 24 hours ahead of the trial by positioning 2,004 ambulances across the governorates, state-run MENA reported.
The Anti-Coup Alliance, which is also known as the National Coalition to Support Legitimacy, said it does not acknowledge the “invalid and illegal” trial of Morsi.
The alliance described the trial as an “absurd” trial being held by the “putschists” and their supporters meant to break their and Morsi’s will and eliminate their determination.
The alliance, which includes the Muslim Brotherhood as well as several other parties and unions, said in its most recent statement: “What is taking place now is a clear violation of all norms, laws and customs,” adding that it finds “the performance of the judicial authority disgraceful, which has become a tool in the hands of the military.”