Ousted Egypt leader shouts at judge during trial

9:47 PM, Jan 28, 2014   |    comments
In this image taken from Egyptian state TV, toppled president Mohammed Morsi stands inside a glass-encased metal cage in a courtroom in Cairo on Tuesday.(Photo: AP)
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CAIRO (USA TODAY) - Egypt's deposed president Mohammed Morsi shouted angrily at a judge Tuesday from inside a soundproof box and metal cage during the opening of his trial on charges of conspiring with foreign groups in a prison break.

In taped video footage that aired on Egyptian television, Morsi wore a white prison jumpsuit and paced back and forth, at one point furiously yelling at the judge: "Who are you? Tell me!"

Judge Shabaan el-Shami responded: "I am the head of Egypt's criminal court!" before he adjourned the trial to Feb. 22.

Morsi is on trial with 130 others, including Muslim Brotherhood leaders and members of Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon's Hezbollah, over charges related to prison breaks during the 2011 uprising against his predecessor Hosni Mubarak. Authorities have said the jailbreaks were part of an organized effort to destabilize the country.

Morsi, who was elected president in 2012, was ousted in August 2013 by army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi following days of demonstrations by millions of Egyptians who accused Morsi of becoming a dictator.

It was the second time Morsi was seen in public since his ouster. Morsi first appeared in court last fall in a separate trial at which he refused to recognize the court that was trying him. Morsi already faces three other trials on various charges, some of them carrying the death penalty.

On Tuesday, he declared to the judges that he remains Egypt's legitimate leader, a state television reporter inside the courtroom told the Associated Press. In aired edited footage, defendants chanted that their trial was "invalid."

Morsi's presidency was backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group whose leaders have been jailed by the military. On Tuesday, police forces fired tear gas at Morsi supporters who were burning tires on a street in Cairo.

"This is only one more illegitimate court session for the legitimate president," said Hamza El Sarawy, a spokesperson for a Brotherhood-led alliance.

El Sarawy said the treatment showed that the military is afraid of Morsi.

"Putting him in a cage, muting his vote - why don't you want to expose the truth to the people? This is a question Egyptian authorities have to answer."

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