Mohamed Morsi blasted a court as having no jurisdiction and twice declared that he is Egypt's president in the first day of his trial—which was quickly adjourned until Jan. 8. The BBC describes a highly charged scene: Morsi was flown in from a secret location via helicopter, marking his first public appearance since his July 3 ouster. Once there, he refused to trade his blue suit for a white prison uniform. He was then asked to give his name, and reportedly had this to say:
- "I am Dr. Mohammed Morsi, the president of the republic. I am Egypt's legitimate president. I refuse to be tried by this court."
Proceedings were halted after this statement, and the case was subsequently adjourned to allow his attorneys time to go over documents. Morsi (along with 14 co-defendants, senior Brotherhood members) faces charges of incitement of violence and murder, and could face the death penalty if convicted. The trial comes amid a highly charged atmosphere in a bitterly polarized nation, with a deepening schism between Morsi's Islamist supporters on one hand and Egypt's security establishment and the nation's moderate Muslims, secularists, Christians, and women on the other. GlobalPost has a good primer on why the trial is so significant, with Louisa Loveluck noting, "it is still vital that Egypt provide some sort of legal basis for the decision to remove Morsi from office." More here.