Morsi, Egypt’s freely elected and imprisoned president, killed by regime
Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi in 2012 when visiting Tunisia. | Maya Alleruzzo/AP

After six years of solitary confinement at a secret prison, Egypt’s legitimate president, Mohamed Morsi, died yesterday after the latest in a string of judges ignored pleas to deal with his failing health. He has suffered from numerous medical conditions including blood pressure, liver, and kidney diseases as well as diabetes for years and has had not received necessary medical attention during his years of imprisonment by the country’s ruling military regime. Because of secrecy imposed by the government, there are doubts about the official story that he simply collapsed in court and died.

One of his defense lawyers, Kamel Madour, told the Associated Press that Morsi insisted to the end that he was the legitimate president and said he died before he could be taken to the hospital. Morsi was never actually allowed to meet one-on-one with his defense lawyers.

Opposition groups in Egypt are demanding an international investigation into the circumstances of his demise.

Morsi, who was ousted in a military coup six years ago, was the only democratically elected leader in Egypt’s 7,000-year history. He was elected after the “Arab Spring” revolution of 2011 but deposed by General Al Sisi, the current ruling dictator, in 2013. Morsi served only one year of his four- year term when he was removed in the military coup.

From the moment he was elected Morsi was attacked and undermined by operatives in Egypt’s vast and corrupt corporate and government infrastructure with the military leading the way. Police and media figures and well-placed judges in the court system all lined up to criticize and undermine the young democracy.

On Jan. 4, 2014 the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, in a report entitled “Arms of Injustice,” explained how these groups functioned together to destroy the new government.

Legitimate opponents to Morsi, including secular groups concerned about the growing influence of religious fundamentalists, were stoked and egged on by the military to provide a cover for many of the undemocratic forces, including the military itself, that were determined to oust Morsi. Their goal was not just opposition to Islamists who were among those backing Morsi but putting an end to anything that could lead to a more democratic Egypt.

Throughout, the right-wing opposition to the Morsi government received financial support from  Arab Gulf states. All of this helped further fuel polarization in Egyptian society. Things came to a head July 3, 2013, with a military coup led by the defense minister, General Abdelfattah El-Sisi who eventually took over as president. On the day of the coup, President Morsi was kidnapped by soldiers and imprisoned in Abu Qeer Marine base in the coastal city of Alexandria.

After four months, on Nov. 4, 2013, Morsi was hauled before a kangaroo court. That was followed by six years of imprisonment punctuated by forced appearances at a series of rigged trials in which Morsi was denied real legal representation. He was kept in glass cases with sound in and out of them controlled by judges, denying him the ability to hear proceedings at his own trials. Some court sessions were held without his presence. When he was allowed to meet with lawyers he could not do so privately.

He was permitted only three visits from family members during the entire six-year imprisonment.

He was kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, denied both fresh air and sunlight, conditions classified as torture by the United Nations.

The military coup ruling regime has prevented any public or religious memorial or prayer services for the deceased president. They ordered his burial in a cemetery for the homeless in Cairo at one o’clock in the morning, against his written will to be buried in his family’s cemetery.

Funeral prayers have been performed, nevertheless, by tens of thousands of people in countries around the world. Thousands have protested in front of Egyptian embassies in many countries. Social media activists launched hashtags such as #Mohamed Morsi, #martyr president, and #Sisi_killed_Morsi.” These were trending all over the world in just a few hours after his death.


Aboulfotouh Kandil
Aboulfotouh Kandil

Aboulfotouh Kandil is a freelance writer on socio-political issues and human rights with a main focus on the Middle East.