The trial of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi is a “test” for Egypt’s new military-installed authorities who are engaged in a deadly crackdown on his supporters, Amnesty International said Sunday.
Morsi, toppled by the army on July 3 following mass street protests against his one-year rule, will stand trial on Monday charged with inciting the murder of protesters outside his presidential palace in December 2012.
“Tomorrow’s trial is a test for the Egyptian authorities. They should present Mohamed Morsi in court and grant him a fair trial, including the right to challenge the evidence against him in court,” Amnesty’s Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui said in a statement.
“Failing to do so would further call into question the motives behind his trial.”
Morsi has been held incommunicado at a secret location since his ouster and will be tried with 14 other defendants.
“His enforced disappearance is also a serious human rights violation in itself and must be ended right away,” Sahraoui said.
“The trial cannot proceed without Mohamed Morsi’s presence in court. Everyone has a right to be present at their trial.”
The charges against Morsi could lead to the death penalty or life in prison.
They are linked to a turning point in his term in office, when thousands camped outside the presidential palace protesting against a decree that placed his decisions beyond judicial review.
Accusing police of failing to protect the president, the Muslim Brotherhood called on supporters to confront the protesters. At least seven people were killed in the clashes that erupted on December 5 last year.
The Islamist Anti-Coup Alliance backing him has said that the “deposed president does not recognise the authority of the court”.
Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told reporters over the weekend that Morsi will be “tried before a judge according to Egyptian penal code”.
“Nothing extraordinary, nothing exceptional. He will have rights to have a free and fair trial.”
Egypt’s new authorities are engaged in a sweeping crackdown on supporters of Morsi, with more than 1,000 people killed in clashes with security forces across the country.