|June 16, 2015. AP Photo|
This upsetting photo of Ikhwan members sentenced to death by hanging dredged up a memory of another courtroom cage many years ago. In December 1999, on the Haikstep military base, 20 Ikhwan professionals were being tried in a military tribunal on charges of “infiltrating professional associations.” It was the first courtroom I’d ever been in, and what a strange one it was. A cage took up the entire left length of the room; all 20 men in it were dressed in spotless white gallabiyas. I remember Khaled Badawi, a loquacious lawyer and bar association activist, now a member of Dr. Mohamed Morsi’s legal team. Next to him was Mokhtar Nouh, a big personality who loved the limelight, now a rabid anti-Ikhwan propagandist. Mohamed Ali Bishr was there, the engineer who later became a governor then a minister during Morsi’s presidency and is now in prison. And usually sitting quietly deep inside the cage was Mohamed Badie, the veterinarian who became the Brothers’ General Guide in 2010 and who is now among those sentenced to death.