Former Justice Minister Ahmed Mekki has condemned the trial of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsy, claiming the trial is politically motivated.
Mekki told Egypt Independent he is certain Morsy is innocent of the charges that he incited the killing of protesters outside the Ettehadiya presidential palace in December 2012, claiming he saw events unfold himself.
"I am certain he is innocent," Mekki said.
Morsy warned his defense minister, interior minister and Republican Guard commander to avoid bloodshed, saying "anything but blood," Mekki claimed in an interview with Egypt Independent.
Mekki pointed out if the court requests his testimony, he will testify.
Mekki said that the armed forces treated Morsy well after he appeared in good health at the opening court session last week.
Q:· What do you make to Morsy's trial?
A: It is a politicized trial, of course, even if he is charged with the incitement of murder. His trial will have political effects, and "incitment" is a general word. He was not quoted clearly and explicitly as inciting murder.
Q: What do you think of Morsy's behaviour in the first session?
A: There is ignorance over proper judicial procedures. Morsy has the right to wear the outfit he wants for several reasons, including that the Code of Criminal Procedures does not specify a particular attire for defendants. Prison regulations identify a specific outfit for a prisoner. These regulations do not apply to Morsy because he was detained in a navy unit, not a prison.
Q: Morsy interrupted the judges more than once and said he was the legitimate president, what do you think of that?
A: Morsy appeared firm at court. He was keen to direct a political message about his trial. He also appeared in a good health. That means he was well-treated by the armed forces, which is something in their favor. We still believe though it was illegal to detain him incommunicado. He should have been detained in prison, or at least the place of his detention should have been known.
Q: You were a justice minister under Morsy, what do you think of his trial?
A: I was an eyewitness of the Ettihadeya incident and I am certain he is innocent.
Q: What is your testimony and why don't you testify at court?
A: I heard Morsy reiterate "anything but blood." I also attended a meeting with Morsy, former Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin, Defense Minister Abdel Fttah al-Sisi and the commander of the Republican Guards, during which Morsy told them that everything could be acceptable except bloodshed. He appered incredibly moved by the death of protesters.
Q: Why did you attend that meeting?
A: In fact, I asked to meet the ex-president in order to inform him I objected to the Constitutional Declaration and to tell him that the Constitutional Declaration was not in our favor.
Q: Why don't you testify before the court?
A: If the court requests my testimony, I will go.
Q: Why did you attend the meeting of security leaders with Morsy?
A: I attended because I wanted to ask about the Constitutional Declaration as I opposed it.
Q: You mentioned that Morsy welcomed protests.
A: I convey to you what was going on in the corridors of the presidential palace and the impressions of the president at that time. He said there was no problem in closing Tahrir Square, adding if one kilometer of Egypt's territory was against him, the rest was still with him. The bill regulating protests which I prepared under the ex-president did not restrict sit-ins, which demonstrates what I just said. Morsy made these statements in front of other Arab justice ministers at a meeting in the presidential palace - not only me.
Q: How do you see reconciliation with the Muslim Brotherhood?
A: Reconciliation is imperative and urgent to move forward. If we were able to make an agreement with Israel, then what about the Muslim Brotherhood, the largest political faction in the state? There is no doubt it is the most powerful organization on the scene. How could the government succeed while having a feud with the strongest political party? One day the current regime will have to accept reconciliation .
Q: When will that be?
A: This question should be directed to the armed forces.
Q: Why did all the initiatives put forward for reconciliation fail?
A: Because there was no true wish on part of both political adversaries to reconcile with one another.
Q: Are there any other reasons?
A: The media played a malicious role in thwarting all reconciliation initiatives put forward recently, beside the role of Israel which favors that the armed forces be drained through politics.
Q: What do you think of the situation after 30 June?
A: I believe the crisis in Egypt could have a political solution, especially because the defense minister is part of this government. Many possible solutions could have been worked out like holding early elections, which I favored. The crisis should have been solved through the Cabinet, not the army command.
Q: What could be the solution now?
A: There should be a political solution that includes the armed foces as the real rulers. Moreover, the economic crises should be ended only through political reconciliation.