| Coup: Bogus trial for Egypt’s Morsi begins amid fears of violence!

Trial for Egypt’s Morsi begins amid fears of violence ~ Al Jazeera America.

gypt’s deposed President Mohamed Morsi is standing trial Monday to face charges of inciting violence and murder in connection with clashes in front of the presidential palace in the capital Cairo in December.

The trial, which is not being aired live on state TV, is being held at a heavily-fortified police academy on the outskirts of Cairo Monday morning. It is the same venue used during the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled in a 2011 uprising and is currently under house arrest.

Morsi, 62, is facing charges for the deaths of three out of 11 protesters who were killed in the violent clashes during demonstrations against his constitutional declaration, which gave him vast powers that many believed were steps towards authoritarianism.

“The other seven, who were members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, were excluded by the prosecutor from the case,” Mohamed al-Damati, a member of the defense team, told Al Jazeera. “This will also be brought up in the trial.”

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Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has been under house arrest in an undisclosed location since being ousted in a July 3 military coup.UesleiMarcelino/Reuters

If convicted, Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, could face the death penalty.

Morsi, who has been under arrest in an undisclosed location since the July 3 military coup, has rejected the trial and still considers himself to be the legitimate president of Egypt.

Al-Damati said that Morsi did not answer questions during the interrogations, considering them “invalid.”

He added that the defense team, which has no access to the ousted president, received documents of the court case only on Saturday night, although a request for the papers had been filed more than 20 days ago.

Fourteen other defendants will be tried alongside Morsi on Monday, including Essam el-Erian, Vice President of the Brotherhood’s political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, and Mohamed el-Beltagi, a former member of parliament.

The months since the coup have seen a crackdown on senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Morsi supporters.

Security precautions

A coalition led by the Muslim Brotherhood called for a mass protest Monday, triggering the military-backed government to put extensive security arrangements in place.

The Interior Ministry has said that about 20,000 security personnel will be deployed to secure the trial and other state institutions.

The ministry said in a statement that it would take all “security measures to prevent possible attacks in accordance with the law.”

Egypt witnessed one of its worst bouts of violence in decades on Aug. 14, when security forces violently cleared protest camps set up by Morsi supporters, sparking days of unrest that left more than 1,000 dead.

Since then, violent incidents have multiplied: a suicide car bomber tried to assassinate Interior Minister Mohammed Ibrahim in September, and dozens of members of the security forces have been killed in a string of drive-by shootings, explosions and car bombs. Churches have been torched, and in an attack in Cairo last month, five Christian Copts and one Muslim were killed in a drive-by shooting at a church.

Both government officials and Morsi’s supporters forecast bleak scenarios for Monday, with each side accusing the other of plotting killings, including that of Morsi himself.

A senior Interior Ministry official told The Associated Press his ministry had received information that Brotherhood supporters will engage in acts of violence, “including assassinations of top religious figures, suicide attacks and targeting military facilities.”

“We expect a kind of hysteria and rioting when Morsi shows up in court,” he added.

Al Jazeera and The Associated Press 

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| Egypt court bans Muslim Brotherhood ‘activities!’

Egypt court bans Muslim Brotherhood ‘activities’ ~ BBC.

A court in Egypt has banned “all activities” by the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Cairo administrative court said its ruling applied to the Islamist group, its non-governmental organisation and “any organisation derived from it”.

It also ordered the interim government to seize the Brotherhood’s funds and form a panel to administer its frozen assets until any appeal had been heard.

The military authorities have launched a crackdown on the group since ousting President Mohammed Morsi on 3 July.

Dozens of senior Brotherhood figures, including its general guide Mohammed Badie, have been detained on suspicion of inciting violence and murder.

Hundreds of people demanding Mr Morsi’s reinstatement, most of them Brotherhood members, have also been killed in clashes with security forces, who portray the crackdown as a struggle against “terrorism”.

The 85-year-old Islamist movement was banned by Egypt’s military rulers in 1954, but registered itself as an NGO in March in response to a court case bought by opponents who contested its legal status.

The Brotherhood also has a legally registered political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which was set up in 2011 as a “non-theocratic” group after the uprising that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power.

Following Mr Morsi’s overthrow and the suspension of the Islamist-friendly 2012 constitution, the Cairo administrative court and the social solidarity ministry were tasked with reviewing the Brotherhood’s legal status.

Earlier this month, a judicial panel issued a non-binding recommendation to the court supporting one legal challenge, which argued that the NGO registration was illegal because the Brotherhood-led government had effectively issued a licence to itself.

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From other news sites

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| Coup backfires: Now Egypt’s de-democratised!

Egypt, de-democratised ~

Irfan Ahmad, Al Jazeera.

Scholar Irfan Ahmad argues that the Egyptian military staged a coup d’etat that has set democracy back in the nation.

 

Western democracies are complicit in the de-democratisation of Egypt, and have allowed a coup to transpire because of their antipathy towards the incumbent party, the author argues [Reuters]

It is a coup d’état!
Let’s call a spade a spade: despite military’s denial that it didn’t plan to stage a coup d’état, what it did on July 3 was precisely a coup. The arresting visual of the announcement of the coup on the state television had elements of exactly that postmodern spectacle.

Unlike the 1999 coup by Pakistan’s General Pervez Musharraf, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi‘s was almost surreal. As he announced in his shrill voice the unconstitutional deposition of the elected President Mohammad Morsi, on his right were seated heads of other wings of armed forces, including the liberal poster-man, Mohamed ElBaradei.

On General al-Sisi’s left were, inter alia, Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Pope Tawadros of the Coptic Church, a member of the al-Nour party as well as a representative of the youth. There were no women. One by one all these figures spoke to back the coup and thereby subverted Egypt’s fragile democracy.

To General al-Sisi, this coordinated and well-thought-out coup was a ‘patriotic‘, not a ‘political’ act. Think of George Orwell and the masterful twist of language!

The subversion of Egypt’s democracy was implicitly hailed by democracy’s  custodians, the Western states, for none of them – not the USA, the EU, France or the UK – named the overthrow of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP)-led government as a ‘coup d’état’, leave alone condemned it.

By failing to do so, these Western democracies found themselves as unlikely bedfellows with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, two states that also welcomed the coup. Does not the statement of British Foreign Secretary,William Hague that ‘only democratic processes and government by consent will bring the stability and prosperity that the people of Egypt seek’ mislead people to think that the Morsi’s government was not based on consent?

To recreate democracy Egypt ought to courageously resist any act of de-democratisation, from within as well as without

If the mere number of people taking to the streets is a sufficient condition for a government to be overthrown, then, did the governments of Tony Blair and George W. Bush met this condition as millions had marched against their unethical war in 2003?

My point is not to justify whatever Morsi did or to discredit the anti-Morsi protests. Clearly, such protests are integral to a thriving democracy. The question, however, is: how such protests in the name of democracy end up befriending its current adversary, the unelected military?

How is it that the ‘liberal-secular’ opposition, that so detests the Islamism of the FJP, includes the al-Nour party of Salifis who are no less religious than their Brotherhood counterparts? Does not ElBaradei’s liberalism wedded to unbridled military might prove Uday Mehta‘s contention that liberalism has historically served empire?

You are a democrat, but are you a friend?

The July 3 coup d’état is a classic example of de-democratisation engineered by the powerful states, invariably the Western ones. In an earlier piece on Al-Jazeera, I argued how the West has historically used Latin America and the Middle East as laboratories of de-democratisation.

In the case of Egypt, it is not yet clear to what extent the internal and external actors converged to enact her de-democratisation. However, this much is clear that if a less powerful democratic state does not serve the interests and identity of the powerful – within and without – democracy is easily sacrificed to ensure the hegemony of the powerful. What ultimately matters is not being a democrat but being a friend. In some ways, Egypt of 2013 resembles Haiti of 2004 and Ireland of 2008.

In 2004 France and the US organised a coup against the elected President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Aristide was put on a 20-hour flight to the Central African Republic. Even the Haitian officials didn’t know about his destination. As I write, we don’t know where Morsi is. Aristide maintains that he was abducted.

Let’s recall that in 2000 elections Aristide was elected as president second time. Two key factors for his ousting were his refusal to submit to Washington and, his demand that France, the former colonial power, pay a sum of US$21bn it had extorted from Haiti.

In 1805, Haiti was the first country in Latin America to become free as a result of slave revolt. All powerful countries at that time, including the US, sided with France and declined to recognise Haiti’s freedom. In desperation for recognition and under threat of being recolonised by France, the Republic of Haiti agreed to pay 150 million Francs to France for her economic loss.

Haiti continued to pay ‘debt’ to France for decades. Aristide demanded that the money France extorted from Haiti should be returned to build hospitals, schools and roads. The French Premier sent Regis Debray to Haiti to delegitimise Aristide’s claim.

During his visit Debray found that ‘no members of the democratic opposition to Aristide took the reimbursement claim seriously’. Clearly, he sought to mislead people that Aristide’s government was undemocratic. Western states and Egypt’s politicians opposed to Morsi depicted the latter in a similar fashion. Furthermore, rather than help Aristide in his welfare campaign, the US-funded opposition, armed groups and the so-called civil society institutions undermined Aristide’s government.

Unable to deal with him politically, Senator Jesse Helms, a Republican from North Carolina, called Aristide a ‘psychopath’. The day Morsi was ousted BBC interviewed a woman named Suraiyya, who dubbed formations like FJP and Morsi as “Islamofascist”. The BBC journalist didn’t bother to ask her how she applied such a label. The synergy between the interviewee and interviewer was just perfect and subverted any legitimacy Morsi may have possessed.

In June 2008 Ireland held a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty on European Union reform. Over 53 percent rejected the Lisbon Treaty. This rejection, however, went against the wishes of Europe’s elites.

Instead of accepting what the Irish people sovereignly decided, The Guardian delegitimized the Ireland’s popular will as follows: ‘Less than 1 percent of the EU’s 490m citizens appear to have scuppered the deal mapped out in Lisbon that was meant to shape Europe in the 21st century’. A similar logic was/is at work in the case of Egypt. Valery Giscard, a key author of the Lisbon Treaty, told a radio journalist:

Giscard: ‘The Irish must be allowed to express themselves again’.

Radio Journalist: ‘Don’t you find it deeply shocking to make people who have already expressed themselves take the vote over?’

Giscard: ‘We spend our time re-voting. If we didn’t, the President of the Republic would be elected for all eternity’.

What is SCAF?

It is clear what exactly Giscard meant by his comment: namely, the Irish people must keep on voting until they give the desired result he and his like-minded politicians wanted to hear and promote. The problem with Morsi and FJP was precisely this; they didn’t say exactly what the powerful wanted to hear, and their ideological adversaries were happy for popular revolt to subvert democratic processes until their ideal outcome may arise.

Future of democracy and Egypt  

Now that Egypt stands de-democratised and the Army has issued a road map, what is to be done? Let’s hope that General al-Sisi’s model is neither Pakistan’s General Musharraf nor General Zia-ul-Haq. Furthermore, to responsibly answer this question is to transcend narrow, exclusive interests of any group and build a plural, dialogic political community acknowledging, not negating, differences.

This entails redefining democracy democratically so that it flowers into value in its own right, not simply as a bare tool that serves one’s partisan interests. It must alter, even abolish, rather than reproduce the dominant dualism between ‘friends’ and ‘foes’.

If the goal is to nurture as well as redefine democracy in its nascent stage, none of the political formations, including the FJP, should resort to violence. That will deprive Egyptians of an immense possibility of imagining politics anew.

To build a truly democratic Egypt is to follow the path and ideals of Abdul Ghaffar Khan, a great 20th century icon of non-violence and democracy. In short, to recreate democracy Egypt ought to courageously resist any act of de-democratisation, from within as well as without.

Irfan Ahmad is a political anthropologist and a lecturer at Monash University, Australia and author ofIslamism and Democracy in India: The Transformation of Jamaat-e-Islami (Princeton University Press, 2009) which was short-listed for the 2011 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize for the best study in the field of Social Sciences. Currently, he is finishing a book manuscript on theory and practice of critique in modernity and Islamic tradition.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.

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| Democracy Defense Front Statement on the Legal Status of the Coup in Egypt!

Democracy Defense Front Statement on the Legal Status of the Coup in Egypt ~ Ikhwan Web, The Muslim Brotherhood.

On July 3, 2013 Egypt’s army commander, the Defense Minister, mounted a full-fledged coup d’état against the legitimate elected President of Egypt and suspended the Constitution endorsed by popular referendum on December 25, 2012.

We declare illegal, null and void all decrees issued and actions taken by the Defense Minister, and say as follows:

(1) The Elected President of Egypt, who is also the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, did not resign nor transfer any of his powers to any person or entity, including the Defense Minister, who was appointed by the President himself.

(2) Announcing the military coup, the Defense Minister also suspended the Egyptian Constitution approved by the Egyptian people in 2012 in a most credible, fair and free referendum, although this Constitution itself is the legal basis and source of the Defense Minister’s legitimacy, and does not allow any authority to suspend, repeal or abolish any of its provisions.

(3) The Defense Minister appointed Judge Adli Mansour, Chief Justice of Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court, as the country’s president, in an unprecedented move where a minister “appoints” a President of State.

(4) All Constitutional Court judges, including judge Adli Mansour, were appointed by the President of the Republic according to a Mubarak-era law. Hence, the appointment of Judge Adli Mansour as President by the Defense Minister is a manifest violation of the Constitution and legal provisions. The decree was issued by someone who had no authority to do so, to appoint as President someone who had no right to take that position.

(5) The Defense Minister’s decree to suspend the Constitution is null and void. Therefore the constitutional situation remains as it were. The elected legitimate president remains unchanged and those who mounted the coup remain outside the law and the Constitution.

Finally, the Democracy Defense Front calls on all states as well as international and regional organizations and all the free world not to deal with the illegitimate coup government, and to stand firm with the Egyptian people in their quest to regain their democracy and their Constitution.

God bless Egypt – free and civilian democracy

Democracy Defense Front

July, 5th 2013

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| Mursi calls for coalition government as army ultimatum expires!

Mursi calls for coalition government as army ultimatum expires ~ Al-Akhbar.

Egyptian protesters wave the national flag outside the Republican Guards headquarters in Cairo on 3 July 2013, during a demonstration against President Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood. (Photo: AFP- Gianluigi Guercia)

Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Updated at 6:05pm: Tens of thousands of Egyptians poured onto the streets on Wednesday, as a controversial army deadline to impose a political solution expired, after a defiant President Mohammed Mursi vowed to see out his term regardless.

At 5:00pm local time, half an hour after the ultimatum, the Egyptian army had still not issued a statement, leaving Egyptians unsure of what to expect from the situation.

In a statement on Facebook, Mursi’s office declared that “The presidency envisions the formation of a consensus coalition government to oversee the next parliamentary election.”

Egyptian troops were securing the central Cairo studios of state television as the deadline neared, the head of state television and radio said.

Shoukry Abu Amira said in remarks carried by state newspaper al-Ahramthat Republican Guards had been securing and protecting the building for the past several days.

As the deadline approached when the army high command is expected to step in and reorder Egypt’s political institutions, security sources said staff not involved in working on live broadcasts had left the building.

Amira denied reports that the studios had been evacuated.

Security sources have said that armored vehicles are patrolling the streets outside the building.

The interior ministry warned that police would respond firmly to any violence after a week of bloodshed – which has now killed almost 50 people – intensified as Mursi supporters and opponents again squared off overnight.

Mursi’s opponents accuse him of having betrayed the revolution by concentrating power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist allies and of sending the economy into a freefall.

His supporters say he inherited many problems, and that he should be allowed to complete his term, which runs until 2016.

As the clock ticked down on the army’s deadline for Mursi to meet the “people’s demands” by 4:30pm, General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi held talks with top brass, a source close to the army told AFP.

Sisi, who is also the defense minister, later went into a meeting with opposition leader Mohamed el-Baradei, Coptic Christian Patriarch Tawadros II and Sheikh Ahmad al-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s highest seat of learning.

A spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood said on Twitter that the political wing of the group, the Freedom and Justice Party, had declined to attend the meeting.

The crunch talks came as thousands of protesters opposed to Mursi massed in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, epicenter of the 2011 uprising, after the Islamist leader delivered a televised address to the nation rejecting calls for him to step down.

The army will issue a statement after the deadline passes, said the military source, without giving a specific time.

Some of Mursi’s opponents have welcomed the army’s 48-hour ultimatum, which was followed by a spate of resignations from his cabinet.

But others accuse the generals of preparing a return to the unpopular military rule of the months between the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarak in February 2011 and Mursi’s swearing-in on June 30 last year.

Government daily al-Ahram reported details of the army’s demands.

Its plan provides for an interim administration, of up to one year, which would include the head of the supreme constitutional court and a senior army figure.

The controversial constitution, approved by Mursi’s Islamist allies in December, would be suspended for up to 12 months while a new one was drawn up and put to a referendum, before presidential and legislative elections.

The opposition June 30 Front coalition said it was ready to join urgent talks on the negotiated transition called for by the army.

(AFP, Reuters, Al-Akhbar)

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