Egypt's toppled president, Mohamed Morsi, stood alone in a soundproof glass-encased metal cage at the start of a new trial today wearing a white prison uniform, pacing, and shouting angrily at the judge in apparent disbelief: "Who are you? Tell me!" Judge Shabaan el-Shami, who controls the microphone to the cage, responded: "I am the head of Egypt's criminal court!" Morsi is on trial with 130 others (111 are being tried in absentia) over charges related to the escape of more than 20,000 inmates—including Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood members—from Egyptian prisons at the height of the 18-day 2011 uprising. After five hours, the trial was adjourned to Feb. 22.
In a half-hour of recorded footage aired on state television, Morsi protested being in a cage for his trial. He also again declared that he remains Egypt's legitimate leader during an unaired portion of the hearing, a state television reporter inside the courtroom said. In aired edited footage, defendants chanted that their trial was "invalid." Earlier, the defendants turned their back to the court to protest their prosecution, per the journalist. Morsi already faces three other trials on various charges, some of them carrying the death penalty. The charges against Morsi in this case carry a life sentence.