Most probably, Morsi was a victim of political victimization.
Muḥammad Muḥammad Mursī ʿIssā al-ʿAyyāṭ was an Egyptian engineer and a politician who presided Egypt for 369 days from 30th June 2012 to 3rd July 2013. He was toppled by the then Defense Minister of the state Abdel Fattah Al Sisi after following demonstrations against him, who allegedly had reached an agreement with Morsi but did not stick to it. Al Sisi is a military dictator and he overthrew a democratically elected leader just after a year or so of Egyptians getting rid of the thirty-year rule of a dictator Hosni Mubarak during the internationally known Arab Uprising or the Arab Spring.
Mohamed Morsi was born in the Al-Sharqiyyah governorate of Egypt, located on the eastern side of the Delta Nile in Lower Egypt. After studying engineering at Cairo University, he moved to the University of Southern California, United States to earn his Ph.D. degree, which he achieved in 1982. He had also worked for NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) after completing his doctorate. After returning home, he was appointed as a professor at Zagazig University. He taught for two and a half decades there.
He joined the Muslim Brotherhood during his teaching career and soon became a prominent member of it. He was elected to the People’s Assembly in 2000. He stressed on limiting the powers of the police and freedom of political parties. He was also prominent among those who wanted restrictions on entertainment, labeling them indecent. Later in 2005, Morsi lost his seat when the then president of the state, Hosni Mubarak, allegedly used the electoral frauds to reverse the achievements gained by the Muslim Brotherhood. Then Morsi was appointed the Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the organization’s highest executive body. A year later, he was jailed for seven months after participating heavily in the protests demanding for an independent judiciary in the country. He was arrested again in 2011, during the popularly known Egyptian uprising, which helped the Egyptians get rid of the three-decade dictatorship.
Now space was created for the political parties of the country, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which then moved to form the Freedom and Justice Party. In April 2012, Mohamed Morsi was selected to be the presidential candidate of the party. The very next month he won the largest total and then in mid-June beat Ahmed Shafiq, premier under Mubarak, in the first round. On 30th June 2012, he was sworn as the fifth president of the Arab Republic of Egypt. Things were not good for him and he knew those very well, as the political uncertainty, instability and the military grip on systems of the state were still on the place with their spoiler gone.
Morsi’s first triumph in foreign policy came in November of the same year when he had succeeded in broking a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after a weeklong conflict in the Gaza Strip. Then he moved ahead to take a bold step at home. He moved a decree restricting the judiciary’s power of dissolving the constituent assembly. He also started paving ways for a constitution for Egypt. He faced mass demonstrations as the public thought that he was making attempts to seize dictatorial powers, which was against the recent Egyptian uprising.
On November the 30th, the constituent assembly of the country approved a draft constitution that was written by the Islamists without the input of the boycotting of the Christian and secular members. Mohamed Morsi called a referendum for the draft on 15th December. Consequently, the people of Egypt were again in the streets, a group in the favor of Morsi and other against him. On 9th December, Morsi declared martial law, allowing the military to make arrests and keep order until the referendum takes place, which was approved and taken in effect in late December.
The worsening of the economy, political unrest, deteriorating public administrations, and the sectarian incidents were causing damage to Morsi’s rule. The clashes between Morsi supporters and critiques caused more unrest among the people. The government of Morsi was on the verge of its end on the very first anniversary of his inauguration. On June the 30th, 2013, a large number of his supporters were cheering his completion of one year as the president of the state, whereas another large number of Egyptians were protesting against his rule.
On 1st July, the head of the Egyptian forces, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi gave a forty-eight-hour ultimatum to Morsi to placate the protesters, or the army was ready to intervene and prevent the chaos. Though an official who worked under Morsi administration, Khaled Al Qazzaz, presidential secretary for foreign affairs, claims that Morsi and Sisi had negotiations and Sisi guaranteed Morsi that the military will not intervene but it did. He states, “At the end of the meeting (of Morsi, Premier Qandil and Sisi) the president asked Sisi ‘Are we in agreement Abdel Fattah?’ He said, ‘We agree. This is more than I’d expected.’” He also claims that the removal of premier Qandil was decided to be done to snub the crisis, as Morsi had already declined to resign.
On 3rd July 2013, the military under Abdel Fattah Al Sisi removed Mohamed Morsi from the presidency, suspended the constitution, and put Morsi with many other Muslim Brotherhood leaders under arrest. People came in the streets again but all in vain as the military suppressed the demonstrations against Morsi’s removal and killed more than 1,000 protesters during late July and early August. A country which had ousted a dictator, just a year ago or so, was again under a dictator.
Trials & Sentences
He faced separate trials, the harshest among them was that he had allegedly colluded with foreign groups such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and committing acts of terrorism in Egypt. Two years later in April 2015, he was sentenced to a twenty years’ prison for inciting violence against protesters. In May of the same year, he was sentenced to death for his alleged acts of violence committed by him during the Egyptian uprising against Hosni Mubarak. And in the very next month, he was sentenced to life imprisonment for conspiring with foreign militants against Egypt. In 2016, the court overturned the latter two sentences calling for retrials whereas one trial was underway.
On June 17, 2019, he collapsed while in court and was pronounced dead shortly after. According to Morsi’s family members and relatives, he was provided no proper medication in the prison as he was a patient of high blood pressure and diabetes. Amnesty International reports that he was often kept in solitary confinement during his six years prison, which can be classified as torture. The British Parliamentary penal had also reported in 2018 that Morsi was kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, also classifying it torture. He was allowed only three visits from relatives and his lawyers and doctor were granted no access to him, the Amnesty International Report adds. The Egyptian authorities were reluctant to allow his family to burry Morsi’s dead body in his native Nile Delta province, Sharqiya is how his son Abdullah told Reuters. Mohamed Morsi was clearly a victim of political victimization. The last six years of his life were ruined horribly by the people on power.
There are also allegations that Abdel Fattah Al Sisi who became Egyptian president in 2014, had toppled Morsi on the wish of few foreign states, who were against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
“(Morsi) was held in solitary confinement for almost six years, placing a considerable strain on his mental and physical wellbeing. He was effectively cut off from the outside world.” Amnesty’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa Magdalena Mughrabi
What future awaits for Egypt, the Middle East, and its people is a worth waiting question.
Note: Pictures’ courtesy does not belong to the writer.