His untimely death comes after a background of unlawful detention, physical abuse, torture, and a judicial process that failed to protect his fair trial rights.
In learning of his death, Guernica members condemn the Sisi Government for its part in the events, and further, call upon the international community to take action against the dictatorial and oppressive regime.
Dr. Mohamed Morsi the first democratically elected President of Egypt was removed from power following a military coup d’état led by the now President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
Having been removed from power at what was in reality, the barrel of a gun, he was then, on 29 June 2013, arrested and detained to await trial in respect of a number of politically motivated charges.
Dr. Morsi had been held for almost 6 years, the initial element of that detention, a period of 5 months, being incommunicado.
This flagrant breach of his fair trial, and due process rights, was replicated throughout the trial process, wherein, Dr. Morsi was:
Held in an ‘opaque cage’ and thereby infringing of the right to the presumption of innocence
Prevented from hearing the evidence presented against him, on account of the sound in the aforementioned ‘cage’ being controlled by the presiding Judge;
Prevented from having private consultation with his legal Counsel;
Only allowed minimal visits;
Prevented from seeing copies of any Prosecution evidence;
Prevented from providing his Counsel with any documents in furtherance of his defence; and
Given the restrictions placed on legal consultation Dr. Morsi was prevented from putting his defence and prevented from taking an active part in the process.
The derogation from international standards did not end with the trial process itself however; Dr. Morsi was forced to endure standards of detention that have no place in any State, much less one that purports to respect the principles of democracy and fairness.
Over the past 6 years of detention Dr. Morsi had been:
Held in solitary confinement, and for the main part, incommunicado; conditions that can, and as has been previously held the UN Special Procedures Branch, do, amount to torture and/or inhuman and degrading treatment;
Forced to eat spoiled food, or food otherwise than is fit for human consumption; and
Denied medicine and medical treatment for health conditions, including diabetes, that had resulted in those conditions becoming exacerbated, to the extent that he had on more than one occasion fallen into a diabetic coma, and further, is losing his sight in one eye.
Nelson Mandela famously opined “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones.”, and it is here where Egypt can be judged.
Such were the flagrant abuses meted out to Dr. Morsi, that members of his family instructed members of Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers to draft and file a petition of complaint with the UN Special Procedures Branch requesting an immediate investigation.
The warnings that had been given previously, have thus come to pass, Mohammed Morsi has now died; his death no doubt being as a result of the treatment he has been forced to endure.
It is very likely that the true contributing factors that led to his death will never be known. It is unlikely in the extreme that the Sisi Government will allow a truly independent examination of the body, and instead, will seek to rely upon mistruths and obfuscation that have become the hallmarks of his oppressive and dictatorial regime.
Upon learning of his death, Toby Cadman and Carl Buckey, members of the International Legal Team at Guernica 37 and authors of the petition to the United Nations, stated:
The international community can be under no illusions that Sisi is a dictator who has no respect for the Rule of Law, and rather than allow an individual their democratic and fair trial rights, he will remove any and all protections to ensure his grasp on power continuesn a democracy, proponents and detractors of a ruling party are essential in providing a system of checks and balances to government power. In leading the coup again Morsi, and his overt policies of oppression thereafter, President Sisi has shown himself to only be concerned with power, and the removal of any threat to it.
The Sisi regime, is one that has imprisoned tens of thousands of innocent civilians, their crimes, where detention is admitted, being purported offences of terrorism. The reality, is that the vast majority of these individuals have been arrested because they have vocalised opposition to the ruling Sisi regime, or to put in another way, they have expressed their right to free expression, free speech, free association, and a number of other inalienable rights, that any citizen ought to be free to express in a democracy.
Mohammed Morsi should have been afforded these rights, instead he was arbitrarily detained because he was seen as a threat by the Sisi regime, a regime that is intent on imprisoning and executing its opponents.
In the case of Mohammed Morsi however, rather than execute him, they instead merely left him to die, and thus Egypt’s nascent democracy ended as quickly as it had begun.