Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi reportedly told political officials who visited him in prison that political turmoil in his country serves Israeli interests.
“[Israel] does not have our best interests at heart at all,” Morsi said, according to transcripts of conversations published by the daily al-Watan Sunday, a day before his trial was set to begin. ”It’s possible that in time it may prove that they are behind the predicament we are in now. It’s possible, and I have no certain information to accuse anyone, that the situation serves Israel.”
In a separate excerpt, Morsi stated that “your children will pay the price” and later clarified that this statement was directed at “your children in the conflict between us and Israel,” in light of the strained relations between the two countries.
The transcripts in al-Watan were accompanied by photographs of Morsi in prison, but the authenticity of neither the interviews nor the images has been verified.
Morsi has been held at an undisclosed location and has received only rare visits and telephone calls since his July 3 ouster in a popularly backed military coup. The trial will be his first public appearance since then, possibly inflaming the already tense political atmosphere in the country.
Egyptian authorities switched the venue for the trial of the former Islamist president on Sunday, a last-minute change made after the Muslim Brotherhood called for mass demonstrations at the original location.
Morsi’s trial, now to be held east of the capital on Monday, could lead to another round of bloodshed as his supporters look likely to face an emboldened security apparatus that has boosted its forces for the hearing.
Morsi stands charged of inciting violence and murder during clashes last year at the presidential palace.