Mursi launches tirade against Sisi ‘coup’ in Egypt trial

‘I am the president, and I have not been stripped of this title,’ Mursi said

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Ousted Egyptian president Mohammad Mursi gave evidence Sunday for the first time his espionage trial, launching into a tirade against his successor whom he accused of removing him in a “coup.”

Mursi, Egypt’s first freely elected president, was toppled by former army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in July 2013 after mass protests demanding the Islamist’s resignation after just one year in office.

Appearing in a caged dock dressed in white prison uniform, Mursi was fired up as he presented his own defense for the trial in which he stands accused of espionage along with 35 other people.

“I am the president, and I have not been stripped of this title,” Mursi said during his two-hour appearance in which he attacked Sisi several times without mentioning him by name.

“On 3 July [2013], I was surprised by military chiefs suspending the constitution and toppling the president: if this is not a coup, then what is?” said the Islamist whose ouster was followed by a relentless crackdown on his supporters that left hundreds dead.

Mursi also brushed off the authority of the court.

“This court has no jurisdiction over me according to the law and the constitution. Gentlemen, you are not my judges and this is not my court,” he told the three-member panel.

Mursi accused Sisi of killing some of the roughly 800 protesters during the 2011 revolt that toppled long-time president Hosni Mubarak.

He said that during his presidency investigators had recorded statements from hotel managers overlooking Tahrir Square, the epicenter of the 2011 protests, that “armed personnel from the entity headed by the leader of the coup [Sisi]” had shot demonstrators during the anti-Mubarak uprising.

At the time, Sisi served as the chief of military intelligence.

Months after the 2011 revolt, prosecutors had filed charges against Mubarak for the deaths of protesters, but a court in November dropped the case against the former autocratic leader.

Mursi is facing a separate trial for alleged involvement in the killing of opposition protesters in December 2012 when he was president, and a court is to issue its verdict in the case on April 21.

It will be the first ruling against the deposed Islamist leader.

In the espionage trial, prosecutors have accused Mursi of being part of a vast conspiracy to destabilize Egypt involving foreign powers, militant groups including Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

Mursi is also facing another trial over a prison break during the 2011 revolt. He has insisted on defending himself at all his trials.

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