In a stunning disclosure, lawyers read a statement from ousted President Mohamed Mursi who said he was kidnapped by the military on July 2, a day before it carried out the coup. He said he plans to sue the coup perpetrators for treason. Yesterday, an administrative court in Cairo announced that the state of emergency imposed since August 14 has been lifted.
November 13, 2013, Updated 09:31 DST
A statement released by ousted President Mohamed Mursi said he was kidnapped by the military on July 2, a day before the military carried out the coup. He said this amounted to treason against the entire nation and he intended to take legal action against the perpetrators.
The statement from the ousted president was read out today at a Cairo press conference after a group of lawyers met him for the first time yesterday.
Mursi's son, Osama, was part of the defence lawyers' team. In his statement, Mursi said he was held at a naval base until November 4 when he was brought to court. There were massive protests against the trial and the military had to mobilize more than 20,000 security personnel to try and contain the situation. The trial was quickly adjourned amid pandemonium.
First filed November 13, 2013, 09:03 DST
Egyptians will find little to cheer about in the administrative court’s announcement that the state of emergency ended on Tuesday (November 12). It was imposed on August 14 during the military’s brutal crackdown on ousted President Mohamed Mursi’s supporters thousands of whom were mercilessly gunned down in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square and the nearby mosque.
The military-appointed cabinet spokesman Sherif Shawky said the state of emergency has been officially lifted in accordance with the court's ruling, Egypt state TV reported yesterday.
This, however, was contradicted by military spokesman Colonel Ahmed Ali who said the Egyptian army will continue to enforce the nightly curfew until it receives an official notification that a court has ordered an end to the country's three-month-old state of emergency.
In mid-September, the state of emergency was extended for another two months. Theoretically, this would have ended on Thursday November 14 but such timelines are meaningless in a country where the military holds sway and can do whatever it likes.
Extension of the state of emergency by the military-backed regime in September was challenged in court through a lawsuit filed by lawyer Ahmed Seif el-Islam. The court, however, rejected Seif el-Islam’s legal bid because it understood that any disagreement with the military’s decision would result in the judge/judges being sent packing home.
Egypt has been gripped by political crisis since the elected President Mohamed Mursi was ousted from power in a military coup on July 3. The military appointed a prime minister and his cabinet but continues to exercise total control over all decision-making processes.
President Mursi was held incommunicado until he briefly appeared in court on November 4 “charged with inciting to violence and murder”. This related to riots outside the Al-Itihadiya Palace last December where 10 people were killed by rioters, all but two of them Mursi supporters. Mursi rejected the court’s authority to try him telling the judge that he (Mursi) is the elected president.
Amid pandemonium, the trial was adjourned until January 8 and Mursi was flown to the heavily guarded Borg Al-Arab prison near Alexandria.
In an interesting twist, lawyer for the ousted dictator Hosni Mubarak claimed his client was now free to move about and his house arrest has ended with the end of the state of emergency. Farid el-Deeb, Mubarak’s lawyer told the Saudi paper, Al Sharq al-Awsat today: “[he] now has the right to move freely in Egypt,” but he will remain in hospital to “complete his treatment.”
The ousted dictator was arrested in April 2011 (he was removed from power on February 11, 2011) after three weeks of massive protests. He is being retried for complicity in the killing of more than 850 protesters.
In August, a court ordered his release because he had served the maximum term of pre-trial detention. He was placed under house arrest at a military hospital as part of the state of emergency.
While Mubarak’s lawyer makes claims about the newfound freedom of his client, the elected president continues to languish in prison. Mursi has been denied even family visits although last week, security officials for the first time allowed his family members to visit him.
Mursi’s son Osama, who is a lawyer, said on Tuesday his father would issue a statement addressed to the Egyptian people. This was reported on the Freedom and Justice newspaper website. The Muslim Brotherhood-run website carries the same name as the party under which they operate.
The delegation, which included Osama, urged the ousted president to appoint a defence lawyer, something he has so far refused to do.