Morsi’s death could be state-sanctioned killing: UN

GENEVA 

The death of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi earlier this year looks like an “arbitrary killing” at the hands of the state, the UN said Friday.

“Morsi’s death after enduring those conditions could amount to a state-sanctioned arbitrary killing,” Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, said in a written statement about Morsi’s death June 17.

The agencies added that inadequate prison conditions may risk thousands of other detainees.

The human rights experts said Morsi, Egypt’s first and last democratically elected president, was placed in solitary confinement 23 hours a day.

“He was not allowed to see other prisoners, even during the one hour a day he was permitted to exercise”, they added.

“He was forced to sleep on a concrete floor with only one or two blankets for protection,” the experts detailed the brutal conditions.

“He was not allowed access to books, journals, writing materials or a radio,” they also added.

According to the experts, when Morsi was suffering due to his health problems, the authorities denied to help him.

“Morsi was denied life-saving and ongoing care for his diabetes and high blood pressure,” said the experts.

“He progressively lost the vision in his left eye, had recurrent diabetic comas and fainted repeatedly. From this, he suffered significant tooth decay and gum infections,” they added.

The experts said thousands of other detainees may be at “severe risk” due to the ongoing brutal conditions in prisons.

The experts noted that prisoners are effectively being killed by the conditions under which they are held and the denial of medical treatment.

“It appears that this is intentional or at the very least allowed to happen through the reckless disregard for their life and fate,” they said.

The experts stressed that these violations cause the prisoners at risk of death or irreparable damage to their health.

Egyptian court had sentenced 75 people to death, and 47 to life in prison in a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood-led protests in 2013.

Michelle Bachelet, The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, had defined the sentences a gross and irreversible miscarriage of justice.

Mohamed Morsi became the first democratically elected head of state in Egyptian history by winning the first post-revolution presidential election in 2012.

In 2013, Morsi said the Egyptian uprising that broke out on Jan. 25, 2011 “achieved — and will continue to achieve — its goals.”

However, he went on to warn the public of covert attempts to “steal” the uprising and subvert its goals.

On June 30, 2013, tens of thousands of people — egged on by the media — took part in anti-Morsi demonstrations, while Morsi’s followers hit the streets in support of the embattled president.

Three days later, the army ousted and imprisoned Morsi in a coup led by then-Defense Minister Sisi. The following year, Sisi was elected president.

Following Morsi’s ouster, the authorities launched a relentless crackdown on political dissent, killing or imprisoning thousands of Morsi’s supporters and members of his now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Dozens of youth were also given the death penalty for “politically-motivated” charges and violence took place after the coup.

Morsi died in June while standing trial for similar politically motivated charges.

Eight years on, however, protesters’ demands for “bread, freedom and social justice” have gone largely unmet, according to critics of Egypt’s current regime.

*Writing by Fahri Aksut
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