June 17 marks the third anniversary of the death of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first (and may be the last) democratically elected leader in the modern period.
Mohamed Morsi collapsed during a court hearing and was later pronounced dead in hospital. Whilst in prison, Morsi was known to have had a history of several health issues. These issues included diabetes, liver disease, and kidney disease.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the death of Morsi was tragic but "predictable" given the poor prison conditions imposed by Egyptian authorities and their "failure" to allow Morsi medical care.
The Middle East director of HRW, Sarah Leah Whitson, tweeted that the news of the death of Morsi was "terrible but entirely predictable" given the Egyptian government's "failure to allow him adequate medical care, much less family visits."
The court hearing in which Morsi passed away started at 12:30 p.m. local time. During his speech, Morsi stressed that he had been prevented from taking any medication and that he was facing premeditated death. Morsi added that his medical condition was rapidly deteriorating and that he had repeatedly fainted in previous days without receiving any medical attention.
President Morsi became Egypt's first democratically elected leader when he was elected in 2012 and was ousted in a military coup by then-Chief of Staff General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in 2013. Following the military coup, Morsi, alongside senior officials of the Muslim Brotherhood, was arrested on charges that many call politically motivated in 'kangaroo courts'.
Since the 2013 US-backed military coup, the Egyptian regime has cracked down on all channels of legal dissent and opposition, arresting many supporters of Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood, and those who are simply against the coup. Many more have been killed. The regime has systemically tortured many political prisoners and has denied them the right to fair representation and a fair trial.
Three years on, the Egyptian people are still awaiting any sort of credible investigation into the death of their first democratically elected leader and to bring to account those responsible for medical negligence.
EU must denounce Egypt for human rights violations
European leaders are putting short term interests ahead of human rights by supporting the Egyptian government as it continues its assault on human rights, said Amnesty International on Friday, ahead of meetings at the EU-Egypt Association Council on Sunday 19 June 2022 and Monday 20 June 2022.
"EU leaders will meet with the Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss deepening ties and providing political and financial support to the Egyptian government, which is arbitrarily detaining thousands of opponents and critics in inhumane conditions and stifling civil society, while Egyptian courts handed out the most recorded death sentences worldwide in 2021" said Hussein Baoumi, Amnesty International's Egypt Researcher.
"European leaders claim they care about human rights but President Von Der Leyen's silence about the escalating repression during her recent visit to Egypt would suggest otherwise. Remaining silent or issuing weak, mealy-mouthed expressions of concern is hardly enough to help those languishing unjustly in Egypt's jails.
"The EU must immediately denounce Egypt's violations and make human rights central to discussions on EU-Egypt relations, especially as Egypt prepares to host COP27. Europe's leaders must call on the Egyptian authorities to release those arbitrarily detained, end the crackdown on civil society and respect the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly."
No End to Systematic Repression
Egypt's superficial attempts to create an impression of human rights progress failed to disguise the government's brutal repression of all manner of dissent in 2021, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2022.
Despite ending the nationwide state of emergency in October, the government attached emergency decree provisions to other laws, and Emergency State Security Courts continued to prosecute human rights and peaceful political activists. In January 2021, the implementing regulations for the associations law formalized extensive and arbitrary restrictions on independent civil society organizations, requiring groups to register by January 11, 2022, or risk dissolution. The authorities used discriminatory morality and debauchery laws to arrest and detain female social media influencers on unjust charges of "undermining family values."
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