Dr Morsi’s Life was an Inconvenient Truth
The Jamiatul Ulama South Africa expresses sadness at the news of the demise of Dr Mohamed Morsi, the only democratically-elected president in the modern era of Egypt. From the Almighty we come and to Him we shall all return.
We extend our condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and all people of Egypt whose first-ever attempt at a civilian government was taken away with the toppling of Dr Morsi’s government.
Dr Morsi represented the voice of freedom for Egypt and his prosecution became the symbol of all that has gone wrong in that country, regressing towards total repression, since he was ousted from power in a military coup of 2013.
Immediately following the coup, Dr Morsi was swiftly tried and sentenced to death. Since then, he continued to appear in court to answer more charges brought against him which many had considered to be politically-motivated. It was during one of these court sessions that Dr Morsi is reported to have collapsed and eventually died.
Back in March 2018, the son of Dr Morsi, Abdullah, requested what was later constituted as a ‘Detention Review Panel’ (DRP) in the United Kingdom to look into the conditions of the continued incarceration of his father. He had written:
“This month as Egyptians will be asked to vote for their next President. My father – Egypt’s first democratically elected President – remains imprisoned in appalling conditions, in breach of international laws. In more than four years, my family have seen him only twice. He has been held in full isolation. My family and I are deeply concerned about the conditions in which he is held, and fearful for his health.
“We believe he has not received any adequate treatment for his diabetes or blood pressure. Because he has not received any proper treatment for his diabetes, he has now lost most of his left eye’s sight and would need urgent surgery. But his request for urgent medical treatment during a trial session was refused. Regardless of any person’s opinion of my father or his beliefs, this is unacceptable for anyone. That is why we have asked this independent panel – with legal, medical and foreign policy experience – to assess the situation.
Though the DRP was not granted permission to visit Dr Morsi, its extensive review of the matter, in part, concluded as follows:
The DRP finds that the allegations made by Dr Morsi, directly in his own words, in his statement to the Court in November 2017, and the allegations made by Abdullah Morsi, appear to be consistent with the allegations recorded by the United Nations, the United States’ State Department, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, news reports and other human rights organisations about the treatment of prisoners in Egypt.
They ominously further reported:
We accept the opinion that the consequence of this inadequate care is likely to be rapid deterioration of his long-term conditions, which is likely to lead to premature death.
Sarah Leah Whitson of the Human Rights Watch tweeted on Monday that Dr Morsi’s death was “terrible but entirely predictable” given the regime’s “failure to allow him adequate medical care, much less family visits.”
The withholding of adequate medical care from Dr Morsi at a time his health deteriorated, now constitutes a slow-motion execution of a death-row political detainee whose continued presence became an inconvenient truth for the regime, a reminder of an alternative Egypt that could have been.
In spite of the ill-treatment and humiliation of Dr Morsi while in custody, culminating into his death and the reported denial of a public funeral, nothing can erase the historical record that will forever remind us that Dr Morsi was elected president in the most free elections Egypt has ever had.
The Egyptian regime should not only come clean about the circumstances of the death of Dr Morsi but also release all prisoners, detained either for their political affiliation or conscience.
May the soul of Dr Morsi and the souls of all those who have paid the ultimate price while struggling for freedom in Egypt and the whole region rest in peace.
We pray that this becomes a turning point for all those crying for dignity, freedom and peace. The Help of the Almighty is always near. Aameen.
E I Bham (Moulana)
Jamiatul Ulama South Africa
18 June 2019