Morsi, the first freely elected Egyptian president, was removed from power by a coup d'état in 2013 led by the current president Abdel Fattah El Sisi.
Rabat – A United Nations (UN) human rights independent panel of experts has said that the prison regime in Egypt led directly to the death of the Egyptian former president Mohamed Morsi, on June 17.
“Morsi was held in conditions that can only be described as brutal, particularly during his five-year detention in the Tora prison complex,” said the panel in a statement.
“Morsi’s death after enduring those conditions could amount to a State-sanctioned arbitrary killing,” the UN panel added.
The report on Morsi’s death concluded that; “Thousands more detainees across Egypt may be suffering gross violations of their human rights, many of whom may be at high risk of death.” The finding was based on credible evidence from various sources that the experts compiled and analyzed.
Led by special rapporteur Agnes Callamard and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the human rights experts explicitly condemned prisoners’ rights violations in Egyptian prisons under the current Egyptian president’s government.
“This appears to be a consistent, intentional practice by the current Government of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to silence dissenters,” commented the experts.
The experts stated that prison authorities held Morsi in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day with no interaction with other prisoners even in the one hour accorded to him to exercise.
Morsi slept on a concrete floor with only one or two blankets for warmth. He was not allowed access to books, journals, writing materials, or a radio.
Prison authorities deprived Morsi of life-saving and ongoing care for his diabetes and high blood pressure. The UN panel reported that the treatment led to Morsi losing his vision in the left eye and repeatedly fainting.
Despite being warned of Morsi’s decaying health, experts found that authorities did not undertake any actions to provide treatment or improve Morsi’s living conditions.
Morsi was serving a 7-year-sentence for allegedly falsifying his candidacy application during the 2012 presidential campaign. He faced other accusations including inciting supporters to murder a journalist and two opposition protesters. His trial began in November 2013.
The late president denied the accusations against him, saying that he was a victim of a military coup.
Morsi’s deteriorated health condition led to his death on June 17after he collapsed during a court session.
Violations in Egyptian Prisons
Experts reported that thousands of other prisoners “enduring similar conditions” include Dr. Morsi’s former foreign affairs adviser, Dr. Essam El-Haddad, and his son Mr. Gehad El-Haddad, who was the chief spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood at the time of his arrest.
“These two men 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,” the experts declared.
Prisoners are suffering from inadequate food, poor ventilation, no access to sunlight. The prison authorities have also denied family visits, and fail to provide necessary medical care. Prison guards also place detainees in solitary confinement for extended periods of time.
The experts are closely monitoring the prisoners’ situation in Egypt and have called for the prosecution of those responsible for the inhumane conditions in Egyptian prisons. They are also calling for compensation to be paid to the victims’ families.