Egypt rulers accused of denying medical help to Mohammed Morsi 

World | 18 Jun 2019 10:53 am

Following the death yesterday of Egypt's ousted Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi, Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director with the Human Rights Watch, said in a tweet that the death was “terrible but entirely predictable” given the government “failure to allow him adequate medical care, much less family visits.”

Mohammed Sudan, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, said Morsi was banned from receiving medicine or visits and there was little information about his health condition.

“This is premeditated murder. This is slow death,” he said.

Freedom and Justice, the Brotherhood’s political arm, said in a statement on its Facebook page that prison conditions led to Morsi’s death in what amounted to “assassination.”

The judicial official said Morsi had asked to speak to the court during yesterday’s session. The judge permitted it, and Morsi gave a speech saying he had “many secrets” that, if he told them, he would be released, but he added that he wasn’t telling them because it would harm Egypt’s national security. 

Kamel Madour, the defense lawyer, said Morsi spoke for around five minutes, “very calm and organized,” before collapsing inside the cage.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry did not answer calls seeking comment.

Morsi, an engineer who studied at the University of Southern California, was an unlikely figure to be thrust into Egypt’s central stage. He was never considered a major thinker in the Brotherhood and instead rose through its ranks as an efficient, if lackluster, loyalist. The group only put him forward as its presidential candidate in 2012 after a more prominent and powerful figure, Khairat al-Shater, was declared ineligible to run.

The election victories were the crowning point for the Brotherhood, which had been banned under Mubarak but even underground had been the most organized opposition force. Initially, Morsi made gestures toward the secular pro-democracy activists who led the 2011 Arab Spring uprising. But over the course of the year, opponents accused his Brotherhood of hijacking the revolution and trying to entrench Islamist rule.

Major protests erupted, particularly over the process of writing a new constitution in which critics said the Brotherhood was allowing Islamists to write a charter largely on their terms. Brotherhood supporters cracked down violently on some protests.

As protests grew, the military stepped in. Critics called the move a coup, but el-Sissi’s supporters call it a popularly backed move.

The subsequent crackdown has all but completely dismantled the Brotherhood, with hundreds killed and thousands imprisoned, with most other active figures fleeing abroad. At the same time, secular pro-democracy activists were also crushed.

Throughout his trials, Morsi insisted he remained Egypt’s legitimate president. In early court sessions he gave angry speeches until judges ordered him kept in a glass cage during sessions where they could turn off his audio.

In audio leaked from a 2017 session of one of his trials, Morsi complained that he was “completely isolated” from the court, unable to see or hear his defense team, his eyes pained by lighting inside the cage.

“I don’t know where I am,” he is heard saying in the audio. “It’s steel behind steel and glass behind glass. The reflection of my image makes me dizzy.”-AP


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