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UK MPs ask to visit Egypt's Mohamed Morsi in prison

March 6, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Morsi attends a trial session over the Wadi el-Natrun prison case at Cairo Police Academy in Egypt on 26 February, 2017 [Moustafa El Shemy/Anadolu Agency]

A cross-party group of senior British MPs has petitioned the Egyptian government to allow access to the jailed former president Mohamed Morsi, amid reports that his health has seriously deteriorated, The Guardian reported yesterday.

Morsi was Egypt’s first democratically elected President, but is currently being held in solitary at the notorious Tora prison. His family have been allowed to visit him only twice since he was imprisoned after a military coup in 2013, led by the then-General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi.

Mohamed Morsi won the presidency in elections brought about by a popular uprising against the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, and had been in office for only a year when he was imprisoned. He was convicted of a series of offences including endangering national security by leaking documents to Qatar and inciting violence by the Muslim Brotherhood.

Military coup that ousted Mohamed Morsi in Egypt- Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Military coup that ousted Mohamed Morsi in Egypt- Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Morsi’s lawyers and family say he told them in June last year that he had experienced two diabetic comas and was not receiving proper treatment in prison. He asked to be moved to a private hospital at his own expense.

The Egyptian authorities insist he is receiving proper treatment.

The application to visit has been sent to the Egyptian ambassador in the UK and follows a request to British MPs from members of Morsi’s family. The Egyptian government would need to give MPs visas to travel to Egypt and grant permission to visit him in jail.

Since toppling elected President Mohamed Morsi in mid-2013, general-turned-President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has overseen a crackdown on opposition in which hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed and thousands jailed.

Read: Egypt postpones Morsi’s trial

The MPs and international lawyers seeking access include the former chair of the foreign affairs select committee Sir Crispin Blunt. Other UK figures seeking to form a detention review panel include Lord Faulks, a former justice minister, and Paul Williams, a Labour member of the health select committee and a former GP. Tim Moloney QC would act as the legal adviser to the group.

Blunt said: “There are credible concerns that the conditions under which Dr Morsi is being held might fall significantly short of both international and Egypt’s own standards. We make this request to the Egyptian authorities seeking to see and assess for ourselves the conditions in which Dr Morsi is being detained.

No person should be confined in inhumane conditions, and the implications of former national leaders who once commanded a popular mandate not being treated fairly could have an impact well beyond the proper concerns for any individual.

Read: Morsi’s life at risk due to medical negligence

Abdullah Morsi, the former president’s 24-year old son, said: “This month, as Egyptians will be asked to vote for their next president, my father – Egypt’s first democratically elected president – remains imprisoned in appalling conditions, in breach of international laws.

“We believe he has not received any adequate treatment for his diabetes or blood pressure. Because he has not received any proper treatment for his diabetes, he has now lost most of his left eye’s sight and would need urgent surgery. But his request for urgent medical treatment during a trial session was refused. Regardless of any person’s opinion of my father or his beliefs, this is unacceptable for anyone.”

Read: Egypt reduces Morsi’s son’s prison term