Cairo condemns UN’s call for an independent probe on Morsi’s death, calling it an attempt to "politicize" the tragedy.
By Celia Konstantellou
Rabat – Egypt has criticized the United Nations for “politicizing” the death of the country’s first democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi.
Morsi was overthrown on July 3, 2013, after barely a year in power, through a military coup staged by current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He was placed under house arrest before being moved to prison. The former president had been in custody for six years, before suffering a fatal heart attack in a Cairo court earlier this week.
“Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough, and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the UN high commissioner for human rights on Tuesday, June 18.
“Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr. Morsi’s detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family,” Colville added.
Egyptian Foreign ministry spokesperson, Ahmed Hafez, said Colville’s call for an independent inquiry into Morsi’s death was a “deliberate attempt to politicize a case of natural death.”
Hafez accused the UN of trying to “[obscure] the institutions of the Egyptian state and the integrity of the Egyptian judiciary.”
Human rights groups, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also called for a thorough investigation into Morsi’s death.
“The Egyptian government has known very clearly about his declining medical state, ” Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of HRW’s Middle East and North Africa division, told Al Jazeera, decrying Morsi’s “terrible but entirely predictable” death.
“He’s been in prison and treated worse than the already terrible conditions for Egypt’s prisoners,” Whitson added. “He had lost a great deal of weight, he had fainted in court a number of times and was being kept in almost around-the-clock solitary confinement.”
His former party, the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – a close ally of Morsi – are among those who have also placed the responsibility for his death on the Egyptian leadership.
Egypt’s government has so far denied all accusations concerning the mistreatment of the former president while in custody and negligence over Morsi’s declining health.