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The trial

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Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem

Last Monday was the trial of ex-President Morsi, and as expected, it was a circus. The deposed president looked healthy in a grey suit, walking into a cage of senior MB members dressed in prison whites, who were cheering him as president and holding up the Rabaa sign. As expected, he repeatedly shouted that he is the legitimate ruler of the country, refused legal counsel, faced chants of “hang him” from the civil prosecution attorneys, and the court was adjourned until next January. Outside, scores of MB supporters protested while the thousands they had protested in Maadi, which was the original location of the trial before the security apparatus changed it last minute. Despite public perception that the streets are dangerous and clashes are bound to happen, almost no clashes happened. Nobody died, which, in Egypt, is becoming the definition of a good day.

The trial itself is at best a political trial and at worst a case of political theatre, where you know how the story will end going in. The truth is, they cannot try Morsi for the death of the Itihadiya protesters without getting both his Minister of Interior and the Prosecutor General also indicted, and the current apparatus still doesn’t want to remove its Minister of Interior. The man should be tried for all of the massacres that happened in his time due to his involvement, or lack thereof, and yet he is not.

If you don’t care about the Rabaa massacre then you can’t ignore how many times the Minister of Interior completely betrayed his duty towards protecting the citizens he was sworn to protect: during the Itihadiya clashes, the Coptic Cathedral attacks, or even preventing the abduction of the 14 year-old Christian girl, Sarah, whose Salafi kidnappers told the world that she converted to Islam, is now married, and nobody can take her back; and the MOI did nothing. The minister’s involvement in 30 June doesn’t earn him credit, for he wouldn’t have entered a war with the military for the sake of the Brotherhood. His officers would’ve killed him.

Mohamed Ibrahim’s lack of indictment isn’t the only problem with the trial, for the charges against Morsi are the wrong charges, and will never lead to his conviction. The first charge for which he should be tried is the obstruction of justice and trying to cover up the crimes of the Itihadiya protest, where MB supporters beat up, tortured and illegally held protesters, he gave a speech about conspirators who had already confessed when the investigations hadn’t even begun.  Morsi also had the prosecutor general coerce the local district attorney into arresting the protesters in order to avoid embarrassment. That’s case 1.

The second charge should be the misappropriation of government funds. Every single government contract and the spending of individual institutions should be brought under investigative scrutiny, tens, if not hundreds, of cases of corruption will be found, some under the knowledge, if not behest, of the president himself. The third charge should be the misappropriation of state secrets to other countries or organisations. Instead, he is being tried for incitement against protesters and escaping prison with the aid of Hamas and Hezbollah, if the mood hits.

In my own estimation, the aim of those trials is not to reach a verdict against Morsi, but rather, to drag him in the courts forever. There will be a thousand charges levied against him indefinitely to tire out MB protesters in the process. The lack of solid cases against Morsi signals that the security apparatus wants to have a way out in case at some point, they might reach a deal, which is highly unlikely since there is no one now who would make that deal with the MB.  The interim government will not conduct the trial of Morsi for any real meaningful charges because that’s too much work. The option of dragging him through the courts forever, until everyone forgets him, is far easier and will serve as a distraction for the people, which is not necessarily against their interests. As for “Rule of Law”, it will be as meaningful a concept to this regime as “democracy” was for the MB; as in, not at all.

About the author

Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem

Mahmoud Salem is a political activist, writer, and social media consultant. His writings could be found at www.sandmonkey.org and follow him @sandmonkey on Twitter


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