Ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Mursi lashed out at a judge Tuesday during his trial on charges of breaking out of prison, a day after Egypt’s military endorsed the army chief who deposed him as a presidential candidate.
Mursi, who faces charges in three other cases, was not allowed to freely scream slogans against army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and the army-backed government, as he did in previous court sessions.
This time he was held in a glass cage with a sound system controlled by the court, another example of the crackdown on dissent which has drawn criticism from human rights groups.
At one point Mursi said he was still the legitimate president of Egypt, and asked the judiciary not to engage in political revenge.
Screaming at the judge, he said: “Who are you? Don’t you know who I am?”
“I am the chief of Egypt’s Criminal Court,” replied the judge. At other times Mursi, in a white training suit, paced in his cage.
Other Brotherhood leaders, held in a separate glass cage, waved to people in the courtroom.
A list of 132 defendants published by state media indicated some were Palestinians still on the run. Egyptian authorities accuse the Palestinian group Hamas of helping Brotherhood leaders escape from the jail.
They also say Hamas has provided funding for Egyptian militant groups based in Sinai who have claimed bombing and shooting attacks like the one on Tuesday.
Mursi also faces two other trials: one on charges of espionage involving Hamas which is due to open on February 16 and the other for insulting the judiciary for which a date has yet to be set.
Tuesday’s hearing comes a day after the powerful military gave its backing to army chief Field Marshal Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to run for the presidency after he led the ouster of Mursi – Egypt’s first democratically elected president.
The trial is part of a relentless government crackdown against Mursi and his Islamist supporters that has seen more than 1,400 peopled killed since he was deposed, according to Amnesty International.
Most of those killed have been pro-Mursi demonstrators in street clashes with police and his opponents.
The date of the start of the new trial is symbolic as Tuesday marks the third anniversary of the prison break that occurred during the uprising against Mubarak.
Prosecutors have said almost 70 of the defendants belonged to Hamas or Hezbollah and that some of the defendants were also accused of murdering police officers and helped thousands to escape during the jailbreak.
Mursi was among those who escaped from Wadi Natrun jail.