The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stressed that former President Mohamed Morsi will receive due process during his upcoming trial. It also highlighted that an “independent ‘investigative judge’” has been appointed to investigate the charges against the former president.
Morsi, along with 14 other Muslim Brotherhood members, faces charges of inciting violence that occurred outside the presidential palace in December 2012. A protest called for by the Brotherhood sparked violent clashes with anti-Morsi demonstrators who had begun a sit-in outside the palace. At least five people were killed and nearly 700 people were injured as a result.
The ministry said on Saturday that the “investigative judge” has increased powers including “jurisdiction which oversteps geographical limitations, allowing him to conduct investigations in any part of the country if necessary, in addition to granting him powers of the Public Prosecution, which include orders to detain individuals or call them in for investigation.” The statement added that the appointment of a judge in this manner “is common to many judicial systems in several countries.”
The statement indicated the charges Morsi and his co-defendants are being tried for include inciting people to “commit crimes of deliberate and premeditated murder” as well as inciting the “use of violence, thuggery, coercion, possession of firearms, ammunition, and melee weapons, and unlawfully arresting, detaining, and torturing peaceful demonstrators.”
The ministry stated, “These facts demonstrate that the former president is being tried on criminal charges rather than political ones.” It also stressed that Morsi “enjoys his full legal rights,” including the right of appeal. The statement added that the same procedures were followed in the trial of Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, whose trial is still ongoing in the appeals court.
The ministry reiterated that “there have been no political arrests in Egypt since the 30 June Revolution.” It stressed that there exists “adherence to the principles of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary,” adding that the government “has no role in any decisions taken by the investigative authorities.”
Protection will be provided by the government for the judges involved in the case in the lead up and duration of the trial, said the ministry, due to the intended escalation of protests announced by Morsi’s supporters.
The Legal Team for Coup Victims said last week that Morsi will not recognise the court’s authority and that they believe the trial to be illegal.