The trial of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has been adjourned, after he refused to recognise the court and acted “like a lion” in defiance, according to one of his lawyers.
Morsi was flown in from a secret military location on Monday to an eastern Cairo district on charges of inciting violence and murder. Hours later he was taken away by helicopter to a prison, with the trial not due to resume for two months.
While the case has been adjourned until January 8, this marked his first public appearance since his military-orchestrated overthrow on July 3.
The opening of the trial was marked by Morsi’s defiance. He refused to wear the prison uniform, said he would defend himself, rejected the legitimacy of the court and insisted he was the president of Egypt.
One of his lawyers, Mohammed Tousson, told Al Jazeera: “We are sure the president will be able to defend himself. Let me stress that Morsi was like a lion in the court.
“[Morsi] said ‘I am the legitimate president’. He said that he did not like the judiciary to be part of the coup.”
During four months of detention, Morsi has been extensively questioned and has not been allowed to meet his
lawyers. He has spoken at least twice by telephone to his family and received two foreign delegations.
The defence team, which has no access to Morsi, received documents of the court case only on Saturday
night, although a request had been filed more than 20 days ago.
According to leaks from inside the courtroom, the session was temporarily suspended by the judge, who wanted Morsi to obey the court’s rules on defendants’ clothes and the other defendants to stop their chants against the trial.
Al Jazeera’s Sue Turton, reporting from Cairo, said: “Morsi said this [wearing the prison uniform] was undignified, refusing to recognise that he was a defendant or that he had a case to answer.
“If there was anybody to speak on his behalf in court [defence lawywers], it would be him, he said.”
Osama Morsi, Morsi’s son, also spoke to Al Jazeera. He said that he is both the deposed president’s first lawyer and son, but that Morsi will decide what he will do.
“He decides what he will do… We do no accept the trail. Morsi is the legitimate president.”
Morsi faces charges along with 14 other Muslim Brotherhood figures and allies – including Mohamed el-Beltagy and Essam el-Erian – in connection to clashes last December outside his presidential palace that left at least 10 dead.
If convicted, Morsi – Egypt’s first freely elected president – could face the death penalty.
Security was tight around the trial’s venue on Monday, with hundreds of black-clad riot police backed by armoured vehicles deployed around the complex. Several armoured vehicles belonging to the army were deployed, too.