FRI 13 - 12 - 2019
Jun 19, 2019
The Daily Star
Ex-President Morsi buried in Cairo as Islamists mourn
UN calls for 'independent' probe into Morsi's death
CAIRO: Modern Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, Mohammad Morsi, was buried in a small family ceremony Tuesday, a day after suffering a fatal heart attack in court at a Cairo prison, his sons said.
The Islamist ex-president’s death after six years in jail under the military-backed establishment that ousted him in 2013 was likely to stoke the anger of his supporters in Egypt and abroad.
His Muslim Brotherhood, now banned in Egypt, described it as “full-fledged murder” and called for mass gatherings. Egyptian officials denied accusations that his health had been neglected.
Morsi was laid to rest in Cairo next to other leaders of the Brotherhood, his son Abdullah Mohammad Morsi told Reuters. “We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, read prayers for him at the prison hospital,” another son, Ahmed Morsi, wrote on Facebook.
Witnesses in Morsi’s home province of Sharqiya said hundreds of residents in the village where he was born had performed prayers for Morsi amid tight security Tuesday, and afterward chanted “Down with military rule!” A number of residents were detained, a security source said.
Life appeared normal in the capital, where authorities have cracked down on Islamists and other activists since Morsi’s overthrow. Egyptian media, which are tightly controlled, gave the news little attention - only one newspaper, the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm, mentioned him on its front page. But hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members in Turkey took to the streets of Ankara and Istanbul, some of them blaming Egyptian authorities for the death.
In his final comments, Morsi continued to insist he was Egypt’s legitimate president, demanding a special tribunal, one of his defense lawyers, Kamel Mandour told The Associated Press.
“I am innocent of these charges in front of God and in front of the court and it is now as if I am walking in the dark blindfolded,” he said.
There were a dozen other Brotherhood members on trial inside the glass cage, including some physicians who in vain tried to administer CPR, Mandour said.
Morsi’s death is likely to increase international pressure on the government over its human rights record, especially conditions in prisons. At least 60,000 people, including much of the Brotherhood’s leadership, have been jailed on political grounds, according to a Human Rights Watch estimate.
A British parliamentary panel said last year that Morsi had received inadequate medical treatment for diabetes and liver illness and was being kept in solitary confinement, which could put his life in danger.
Amnesty International called for an investigation, saying Egyptian authorities had “an appalling track record of detaining prisoners in prolonged solitary confinement and in dire conditions as well as subjecting prisoners to torture and other ill-treatment.” The U.N. human rights office called for an independent investigation into all aspects of Morsi’s treatment in custody. Morsi’s son Abdullah said the family had been able to visit only three times since 2013, and that his father had suffered from “gross medical negligence.”
Egypt’s State Information Service, which liaises with foreign media, said Morsi had submitted his last official request regarding his health in November 2017, asking to be treated at his own expense.
It said the court had approved the request, and that an official report from the same year had found Morsi was suffering from diabetes but otherwise healthy.
Leftist former presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi said he had heard of Morsi’s death “with great sadness and deep sorrow.”
Tawakkol Karman, joint recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy of women’s rights and democracy in Yemen, said: “I mourn, for myself and all the free people of the world, the death of a great striver on the path of freedom.”
UN calls for 'independent' probe into Morsi's death
Agence France Presse
GENEVA: The U.N. human rights office called Tuesday for an "independent inquiry" into the death of former Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi, who died in state custody.
"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, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
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