by Dr. Abdellatif El-Menawy
The Brotherhood used Morsi as a facade and received foreign support, which deeply angered the Egyptians, until they grew frustrated with his rule and rose up against him and his party.
Mohammed Morsi, who ruled Egypt for a year before being ousted on June 30, 2013, following mass protests, has died. He died while being tried for several crimes, some of which were shameful, such as sharing intelligence with Hamas and organizing a mass prison break. Other cases against him included insulting the judiciary and inciting violence and terrorism.
Morsi died during a court session in the case regarding sharing intelligence with Hamas. He arrived on foot, conscious, and asked to address the court. The judge gave him permission. When he was done speaking, he felt tired and collapsed inside the dock. An ambulance was called and he was rushed to the nearest hospital, but he died shortly after arriving.
Morsi’s death has spared the Egyptian state the trouble of having to apply the former president’s sentences, which could have reached execution. He was being tried in six cases and had been convicted of four crimes. He was expecting to be convicted in two more cases, the first of which related to the mass prison break, for which he was being tried by the Court of Cassation after a death sentence was pronounced by the criminal court. The events of this case date back to the January 2011 revolution, which overthrew former President Hosni Mubarak. The second case was to do with sharing intelligence with Hamas. A preliminary sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment was pronounced in this case, but it also awaited the final conviction. The total sentences imposed on him would have imprisoned him for 48 years, while the fourth placed him on the terrorist list.
His death in court is a coincidence that was in favor of the state because, had he died in his cell, Egypt would have come under greater pressure. Despite that, international organizations, bodies and personalities have demanded an impartial investigation into the circumstances of his death.
Morsi’s death in this situation saw controversy raised by some parties associated with the Muslim Brotherhood and its supporters. The group blamed the Egyptian authorities for what it described as the “assassination” of the former president. Others to speak out included Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who described Morsi as a “martyr,” and Human Rights Watch. The UN Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) also called for an independent investigation into the circumstances of Morsi’s death, particularly on the issue of providing him with adequate medical care and access to his lawyers and family during his six years in custody.
Egypt, however, has responded to this demand through its Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which used the strongest terms possible to denounce the statements made by the UNCHR. A spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry said the comments made by the UNCHR’s Rupert Colville “involve an attempt to deliberately politicize a case of natural death.”
Morsi became president of Egypt in June 2012 after the first elections were held following the overthrow of Mubarak’s regime. He was the first president since the revolution of Jan. 25, 2011, and the fifth to rule Egypt.
He earned his title as president by chance, as he only came to the Federal Palace after the election commission barred Khairat El-Shater, the Muslim Brotherhood’s first-choice candidate and leading strategist, from running. El-Shater is now in prison facing multiple sentences, possibly including execution.
Morsi came on to the scene after El-Shater was excluded. He managed to obtain the largest number of votes in the first round of the election. He thus made it to the run-off against Ahmed Shafiq, who was counted as a Mubarak man. Morsi beat Shafiq by a very narrow margin. After much controversy among the Egyptian people, which reached the point of accusations of falsifying the results in favor of the Brotherhood candidate, fierce battles in the streets were avoided.
Morsi was not a high-ranking member of the Brotherhood or its guidance bureau. Mohammed Badie was the top-ranking member, followed by a number of the Brotherhood’s strategists, including El-Shater, Hassan Malek and others. Morsi was merely a facade for the Muslim Brotherhood while it ruled the country.
It was quite obvious that the Brotherhood, which was founded in the 1920s, was trying to rule the country through Morsi. Indeed, there have been desperate attempts to apply the Brotherhood’s ideologies to state institutions through its members and supporters who occupied senior and vital positions in the country. These attempts reached several ministerial portfolios, as well as municipalities.
In this case, Morsi could be considered a helpless president. Despite that, a few Muslim Brotherhood members considered him to be the reason for the party’s great failure during its rule of Egypt. Some believed he was not qualified, but he was and the tension rose every time he was in the picture.
The Brotherhood used Morsi as a facade and received foreign support, which deeply angered the Egyptians, until they grew frustrated with his rule and rose up against him and his party. The result was that the Brotherhood wreaked havoc in the streets. They shed the Egyptians’ blood, attacked churches and the Copts, and used armed groups inside and outside the country to get back at the army and the people.
Morsi is gone, but the battles between the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorism and the Egyptian state — its leaders and people — continue. Morsi, who was the smallest and weakest man to rule a country the size of Egypt, is gone after having disgraced himself, the country and everyone in it.
Article first published on Arab News.
Dr. Abdellatif El-Menawy is a critically acclaimed multimedia journalist, writer and columnist who has covered war zones and conflicts worldwide. Twitter: @ALMenawy