Egypt's Morsy says he's still the legitimate president

Mohamed Morsy, seen here in 2012, says he's still Egypt's legitimate leader

Story highlights

  • "I am still the legitimate president," statement says
  • Morsy calls his ouster "a high treason"
  • He had been held incommunicado for months

Mohamed Morsy considers himself still to be Egypt's leader, despite his ouster more than four months ago in a military coup, he said in a statement read by an attorney Wednesday.

"I am still the legitimate president of the Egyptian republic," Morsy said, according to the statement read by a lawyer who was part of a team of Muslim Brotherhood attorneys who visited with him in prison.

Morsy, 62, called his ouster "a high treason."

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In the statement, which was read by Mohamed Al-Domati, Morsy said that he was kidnapped on July 2 by the Republican Guard and taken three days later to a naval base, where he and his aides have been held for the past four months.

After a court hearing on November 4, he was then taken to the heavily guarded Borg Al-Arab Prison in Alexandria.

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Morsy's message of defiance
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The nation's first democratically elected president added that he had yet to meet with any representatives of the armed forces or of the Egyptian media.

Morsy said no one has visited him except for EU Foreign Affairs Representative Catherine Ashton, a delegation of the World Elders Organization and four investigators, "whose questions I refused to answer because their interrogation is a violation of the constitution."

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In an apparent reference to mobile phone video of him speaking to unidentified persons that was leaked to the Egyptian media, he said, "Everything that was attributed to me is baseless."

Morsy faces charges of incitement to murder, which are connected to protests against his rule last December and could result in the death penalty.

Egypt's state-run news agency Ahram Online said Tuesday that the five-member delegation included his son, Osama, and that they urged Morsy to name a defense lawyer.

But in the first trial session last week, Morsy refused to recognize the court.

Under Egyptian law, criminal courts appoint a lawyer if a defendant refuses to engage one. Defendants are not allowed to represent themselves.

The hearing, which was the first public sighting of the ousted president since his overthrow, was adjourned to January 8.

Lawyers plan to challenge the court's jurisdiction on the grounds that the country's president shall not be tried without the consent of parliament, El-Damaty said, according to Ahram Online.