Cairo - Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi accused the
military chief who deposed him of treason in a message from prison read by lawyers
on Wednesday, saying the country cannot return to stability until the coup is
reversed and those behind it are tried.
The statement was part of a bid by Morsi to rally his
supporters since his emergence from the secret military detention where he had
been held, with virtually no contact with the outside world, since his 3 July
Morsi was moved to a regular prison last week after the
first session of his trial on charges of inciting murder. There, he had his
first extensive meeting with a team of lawyers from his Muslim Brotherhood and
other allies on Tuesday, dictating the "message to the Egyptian
people" to them.
But he is emerging to a dramatically changed situation from
four months ago. Since then, a fierce crackdown by security forces has crippled
the Brotherhood, several thousand top leaders have been arrested, and hundreds
have been killed. The new military-backed government is pushing ahead with a
transition plan aiming for new presidential and parliamentary elections early
Under the crackdown, protests by Morsi's supporters have
dwindled and have been reduced to small gathering mainly inside universities.
Security officials, however, worry the protests could flare stronger with the
anticipated lifting on Wednesday or Thursday of a 3-month-old state of
emergency and curfew.
Morsi's statement lay down a hard line, praising protesters
for their "steadfastness" and vowing the coup would be reversed.
"Treason against God"
"The coup has begun to fall apart and will topple in
the face of the steadfastness of the Egyptian people," he said in the
statement, read by the lawyers at a press conference.
He said Defence Minister General Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who
heads the military, had violated his oath of loyalty and committed
"treason against God" and "treason against the whole nation by
driving a wedge among the people of Egypt."
He also said Egypt will not see stability until "the
military coup is eliminated and those responsible for shedding Egyptians' blood
are held accountable".
In his trial, Morsi has so far refused to accept legal
representation, insisting he remains the elected president and that the
tribunal against him is illegitimate. Brotherhood lawyer Mohammed el-Damati
said at the press conference on Wednesday that so far that position has not
changed after the prison meeting the day before, and that it is "too
early" to say whether Morsi will accept a lawyer. He has until the next
session of the trial, on 8 January, to decide.
The team of lawyers will start pursuing legal measures
against the coup and those behind it, el-Damati said.
When asked what are the legal options Morsi and his team
think they can take to reverse the coup, el-Damati said, "These are thorny
issues." One possibility is to make a complaint to the prosecutor-general
that "what happened is a crime." Another is to file a suit in
administrative courts arguing that the decisions taken by el-Sissi are
"null and invalid."