The contrasting treatment of the coup-led Egyptian military regime between two presidents necessitated an essential comparison.
The deposed Hosni Mubarak died on February 25, 2020, at the Al-Galaa Military Hospital, at the age of 91, 30 years of which was spent in office, after surgery to remove part of his intestines. He suffered kidney failure and atrial fibrillation in his heart, leading to his death.
The elected Mohamed Morsi died on June 17, 2019, at the age of 68, 1 year of which he spent in office. He collapsed and died in a glass cage in court following a heart attack, according to the government, and was transferred to Tora Liman Prison Hospital.
Conditions of detention:
Mubarak stepped down from the government in 2011 after being ousted by the January Revolution and moved to his palace in Sharm El-Sheikh. He was admitted to the presidential wing of Sharm El-Sheikh Hospital under the pretext of illness, after the Attorney General's decision to summon him for investigation. The protestors called for him to stand trial in Cairo, so he was moved to the International Medical Center because he needed of medical equipment, its distance from Cairo, and the ease with which he could be secured. After the 2013 coup, an air ambulance transported him to the Armed Forces hospital after the court decided to release him, and from there, to his medically equipped and security-tight villa.
In contrast, Morsi, the first civilian elected president after the January revolution, suffered medical negligence that led to his death. Morsi was arrested at the headquarters of the Republican Guard initially, then transferred to a military base, and then to a cell in the annexe of the Burj Al Arab Prison in Alexandria. He was taken to Cairo a day before trial sessions. He was detained in an isolated room attached to the infamous Aqrab Prison in Cairo, then the in the Tora al-Jabal prison complex, and then in an isolated room attached to the Mazra'a Tora prison.
Mubarak appeared in his trials, carried on a gurney, equipped with medical equipment. His clothes and their colours varied according to the weather, his hair was dyed, and he wore sunglasses, and held his drink in his hand. He was accompanied by his doctor and his sons, who were also standing trial, in the cage, he never seemed to be in critical condition during any of his trials, and he watched what was going on in the courtroom surrounded by care and attention. He was defended by an Egyptian-Kuwaiti team, headed by a well-known lawyer. It is worth noting that the state security files that contain dangerous documents incriminating him were shredded immediately after the success of the revolution with the knowledge of the Ministry of the Interior and Military Intelligence.
As for Morsi, he appeared in his isolated soundproof glass cage, sitting on a wooden bench. He could not hear what was going on in the courtroom, and no one could hear him unless he were allowed to use a microphone. He was dressed in white and then red prison clothing and looked pale and sick. He suffered two diabetic comas but was not seen by a doctor, and his family asked for him to be transferred to a private medical centre at his own expense to conduct the necessary medical examinations, but their request was ignored. He asked to change his medical glasses twice and to bring in insulin, and a blood glucose meter and the security authorities refused. He fainted several times within a week without treatment, and his family was only allowed to visit him twice during his imprisonment. He was also prevented from communicating with his defence team.
The charges brought against the deposed president were the killing of demonstrators, whose numbers were estimated at 800, and financial corruption cases. The Military Council deliberately minimised Mubarak's crimes and those committed by the members of his government in small cases that do not reflect the magnitude of devastation he brought to the country. He also suspended the investigations into reports presented by political figures to the Attorney General. He and his government were acquitted of all charges, despite the fact that the land could attest to their corruption before the people.
As for the charges that were fabricated against Morsi, which the military exaggerated, they were the killing of 10 protestors, 9 of whom were from his people. They also included conspiring with Hamas and the State of Qatar, escaping from prison, and insulting the judiciary; all of which he was acquitted of for lack of evidence incriminating him.
Mubarak's sons Jamal and Alaa were released in 2014, and they were completely acquitted in 2020 of charges of financial corruption.
As for Morsi's sons, Osama was sentenced to three years in prison, Abdullah, 25, was arrested twice, and then died of a sudden heart attack also two months after his father's death!
Mubarak had a military funeral, which was attended by the coup leader and some army leaders, and the regime declared an official state of mourning. Several Arab and world rulers and the Israel Prime Minister, who considered him a personal friend, wrote obituaries for him.
As for Morsi, his family was forced to bury him at night in a secret manner with a limited presence of his family. The family home was surrounded, journalists were banned, and anyone who tried to access the house to pay their respects was arrested. There were also security restrictions in his hometown. His supporters and the honourable people of the world mourned him, while Israel completely ignored his death.
The army sent its first message to the people in the trial of the century when the deposed Mubarak was transformed, in an absurd scene, from a murderer to a witness against Morsi in the collusion case. The purpose of summoning him to testify was to distort the revolution, announce its death, and to humiliate the people who rebelled against the military regime through the only gain they acquired in the revolution, Morsi. With Mubarak's funeral, the army sent a final telegram to the people saying: We are the kings of Egypt, and we will rule and kill you.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.