A son of Egypt’s ousted President Mohammed Mursi said Sunday that the family will not attend his trial, a day before it is scheduled to start in a Cairo court.
Osama Mursi told The Associated Press that his family doesn’t recognize the trial’s “legitimacy.” Mursi “is kidnapped. He is held hostage,” he said.
The family’s statement came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Cairo pressing for reforms during the highest-level American visit to Egypt since Mursi’s ouster. The coup and the ensuing crackdown on his protesting supporters led the U.S. to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in aid.
Mursi has been under arrest since the July 3 military coup, which followed protests by millions calling for him to leave office. He is held in an undisclosed location, incommunicado except for a couple of phone calls to his family.
Mursi is scheduled to face charges of inciting violence and murder in connection to clashes in front of presidential palace in December.
In recent statements, a coalition led by Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood described the trial as a “farce” and reiterated that it regarded him as the “elected, legitimate president.”
“This is a naive tool to break our will and our determination,” said a statement issued Sunday.
The prospects of a new showdown between security forces and Mursi supporters on the trial day are high. A Muslim Brotherhood-led group has called for mass rallies, while the Interior Minister has ordered the deployment of large number of security forces to guard the trial venue, a police institute in southern Cairo.
It is not clear yet whether the trial will be aired live. It is also unclear if Mursi will return to his current place of detention or join fellow Brotherhood leaders who are detained in Torah prison, adjacent to the trial venue.
Thousands of the Muslim Brotherhood’s members, supporters and allies have been detained. Many have been referred to court in relation to protests and clashes that erupted before and after Mursi’s removal from power.
Egypt witnessed one of its bloodiest days in decades on Aug. 14 when security forces violently cleared pro-Mursi protest camps, a move that sparked days of unrest as well as attacks on churches and police. The Muslim Brotherhood group-led alliance continues to hold demonstrations that frequently result in violence.
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