Mistreatment of Morsi by Egyptian authorities violated basic human rights

Published 21.06.2019 00:18

Egypt, a country ruled by dictators with military backgrounds for decades, entered a new period with its first democratically elected president in 2012. However, the democratic experience of Egypt did not last long. Mohammed Morsi, the first democratically and legitimately elected president of the country, was ousted and imprisoned in a military coup led by then-Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi after only a year in office. Three days ago when Morsi lost his life, the world received news that the democratic attempt of Egypt had failed for certain. The suddenness of the death, however, caused many to speculate if it was the result of human rights violations and mistreatment in prison.

Morsi's time in prison and his trials witnessed serious human rights violations over six years, while the international community stayed silent, said Leyla Şahin Usta, the chairwoman of the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) Human Rights Directorate.

Speaking to Daily Sabah, Usta described the treatment of Morsi in prison and during trials as "disgraceful" adding: "It was a clear human rights violation that happened in front of the world in the 21st century."

Serdar Karagöz, the editor-in-chief of TRT International News, said that human rights violations during Morsi's imprisonment and trials completely destroyed the values and principles that the West was supposed to embrace.

According to his family, Morsi had diabetes and kidney disease and had not been provided with proper medical treatment.

Usta stated that Morsi's health problems were known, however, his demands and needs were rejected or ignored by the authorities in a country, where all basic rights and laws were abolished by the coup perpetrators.

"As a result of these violations, Morsi could not get the necessary support and medical care when he fainted in the courtroom," said Usta.

Morsi reportedly died from a heart attack Monday during a court session. The country's state television reported early Tuesday that Morsi was "suffering from a benign tumor, had continuous medical attention and his death was caused by a heart attack."

Abdullah al-Haddad, whose father and brother were standing trial alongside Morsi, said security forces left the former president "slumped on the floor" of his cage for more than 20 minutes.

"He was left slumped for a while till the guards took him out," al-Haddad told The Independent.

He said security forces failed to take the necessary measures to provide first aid to Morsi inside his cage.

"An ambulance arrived after 30 minutes," he said. "Other detainees were first to notice his collapse, they started shouting. Some of them, who are doctors, asked the guards to let them treat him or give him first aid."

"It was not a death. It was a murder," commented Karagöz referring to the tragic events in the courtroom and added: "Following Morsi's death, the West did not offer a critical approach again, revealing the hypocrisy of the Western system based on power and interests."

Morsi's family, along with local and international organizations, repeatedly complained about his worsening health conditions in prison and his solitary confinement.

"He was not allowed to see his family and lawyers," said Usta, adding that it was a shame for humanity that the first democratically elected president of Egypt was exposed to such treatment.

"In court, he was trying to defend himself inside a soundproof glass cage where conditions for communication were not sufficient," added Usta. Morsi was held inside a soundproof glass cage illuminated by bright lights that interfered with his vision and made communication very difficult.

Stating that these violations did not come up after his death and were known for years, Usta added: "Turkey was the only country that voiced these violations in the international platform. On the other hand, the West did not take the necessary steps. Even after his death, they did not release a condolence message. Only the U.N. made a call for an investigation."

She reiterated Turkey's call for international organizations to take responsibility to investigate Morsi's death and make sure Egypt is tried in international courts.

"Those responsible for this situation must be detected and solution reports must be prepared," added Usta, underlining that there are also 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt.

Karagöz also said the coup against Egypt's democratically elected president Morsi was one of the biggest shames in the history of Western democracies.

Reiterating that John Kerry, the United States' secretary of state at that time, described the bloody coup process in Egypt as the "restoration of democracy," Karagöz added that Kerry's comment will be remembered as a disgrace in the history of democracy. "Supportive stances and silence in the West in the wake of the coup will always be remembered and never be forgotten," stated Karagöz, adding the recognition of the el-Sissi regime has been the continuation of this process.

Turkey has been the biggest supporter of Morsi's case and has always raised its voice against human rights violations, Karagöz stated.

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