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Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy back in court

By Yousuf Basil and Sarah Sirgany, CNN
February 1, 2014 -- Updated 1557 GMT (2357 HKT)
Mohamed Morsy in court during a previous appearance.
Mohamed Morsy in court during a previous appearance.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Judge says he won't rule on the constitutionality of the case until after verdict is reached
  • Morsy, 14 others face charges related to the deaths of protesters in 2012
  • Last week, Morsy appeared in court on jailbreak charges
  • Morsy and the Muslim Brotherhood have called the trials a sham

Cairo (CNN) -- Deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy joined Muslim Brotherhood leaders at a Cairo court Saturday for a hearing, state-run Egypt News reported.

Morsy faces several trials on various charges.

Saturday's hearing was to address charges involving the deaths of protesters in 2012.

Morsy is charged alongside 14 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

Saturday's was the third hearing to address these allegations. It was originally scheduled for early January, but rough weather conditions prevented the helicopter transporting Morsy from flying.

Although lawyer Mohamed Selim El-Awa does not officially represent Morsy, he argued Saturday that the court does not have jurisdiction over the case under Egypt's new constitution.

He added that once the court rules on his argument, he would announce to the court his intention to represent Morsy, who appeared last week in court in connection with an alleged 2011 jailbreak.

El-Awa also argued that Morsy was still the president, and that as such, he has certain protections and procedures that must be followed to try him.

However, the judge said he would rule on the argument that the case against Morsy is unconstitutional only after a verdict has been reached.

He adjourned the case until next Tuesday.

But it's still unclear who will officially represent Morsy as the case moves forward.

Lawyer Sayed Hamed said he was assigned by the judge to represent Morsy, having been sent by Egypt's lawyers' syndicate to step in if Morsy doesn't delegate a lawyer.

El Awa was only delegated to present Morsy's constitutional argument about the court's jurisdiction.

When the judge announced he would deliver his decision about the argument with the final verdict, El-Awa said he wasn't sure he would represent Morsy or if the deposed President would give any lawyer powers of attorney.

Denouncement

In last week's appearance, the nation's first democratically elected President denounced the process as unfair and unjust.

Speaking from inside a soundproof glass enclosure, he demanded to know who was in charge.

His lawyers told the judge that he was angry because he had not been allowed to see his attorneys or family.

Jailbreak accusations

Nineteen Muslim Brotherhood members, including Morsy, allegedly broke out of prison in 2011, Egypt News reported.

At the time, the Muslim Brotherhood was banned in the country. But the Islamist group became the nation's most powerful political force after longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak was toppled in February 2011.

Morsy and dozens of co-defendants are accused of collaborating with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and the Lebanese Shia group Hezbollah to escape from Wadi-Natroun prison, the state-owned Ahram Online news agency said.

The defendants are also accused of attempting to kill police officers, Ahram Online said.

The Muslim Brotherhood views the trials as a sham and consider Morsy, who was ousted in a military coup, to be the legitimate leader of Egypt.

CNN's Yousif Basil reported from Atlanta and Journalist Sarah Sirgany reported from Cairo. CNN's Ben Brumfield contributed to this report.

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