Egypt: Rights group slams Egyptian gov't for isolating ex-president Morsy

Cairo, Egypt (PANA) – Egyptian authorities have unlawfully prevented former President Mohamed Morsy from contacting or receiving visits from his family and lawyers in the years since the military forcibly removed him from power in July 2013, Human Rights Watch said on Monday.

In  press release, it said on 4 June, 2017, Egyptian authorities allowed him to receive visits from his family and lawyer for only the second time in nearly four years.

These conditions, it said, undermined Morsy’s right to mount a legal challenge to his detention and a defence against the many prosecutions filed against him and may had contributed to a decline in his health. During the first week of June, Morsy fainted twice and experienced a diabetic coma, his family told Human Rights Watch.

“Egyptian authorities appear to have seriously violated former President Morsy’s due process rights and may be interfering in his proper medical treatment,” said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Morsy’s treatment is a window into the appalling conditions suffered by thousands of political detainees in Egypt.”

During a court hearing on 12 June, Morsy told the presiding judge that he would like to meet with his defence team to brief them on what he has been “exposed to” in prison and how it had affected his life, according to an account of the hearing published in the newspaper al-Shorouk.

Morsy characterized his treatment as “crimes” that have had a “direct effect” on his life, including fainting on 5 and 6 June, the newspaper reported. The court also read an official medical report from prison doctors, which stated that Morsy’s health is good but that he has diabetes.

A family member told Human Rights Watch that the authorities had allowed Morsy’s wife and daughter to see him for 30 minutes on 4 June, but barred his four sons and other relatives from visiting.

Human Rights Watch said Morsy’s only previous visit with his family was in November 2013. On 4 June, authorities also allowed Abd al-Moniem Abd al-Maqsoud, a member of Morsy’s legal defence team, to meet with Morsy for 10 minutes, the first time Morsy had received visit from a lawyer since January 2015.

It said both meetings were in al-Molhaq Prison, part of the Tora Prisons Area in Cairo. There was no glass barrier separating Morsy from his family, as is usually the case in such visits, but a member of a security agency, whom the family member declined to name, was present.

The relative said that Morsy told his lawyer that he wanted to meet with his entire defence team to discuss “serious issues concerning his life” and that he would only raise these issues in public before a judge, the family member said.

On 8 June, Morsy’s defence team filed a complaint to the prosecutor general saying that Morsy’s life could be in danger and asking to transfer him to a private health facility for examination. They also asked to meet with him again.

The relative said that, in the 4 June visit, Morsy appeared to be in “good but not excellent” health but that the former president, now 68, had lost considerable weight.

Three days later, during a scheduled hearing in the retrial of a case in which Morsy is accused of participating in mass prison breaks during the 2011 uprising, the court refused to allow Morsy to speak. His relative said the family received information about his fainting and diabetic coma from other prisoners who were held near Morsy in the courtroom that day. Morsy told them he feared for his life and had started abstaining from eating anything but canned food, the family member said.

Since his ouster, Morsy has faced five separate trials on charges that include conspiring with Hamas and Hezbollah, committing espionage by leaking state secrets to Qatar, insulting the judiciary, and orchestrating the deadly dispersal of opposition protesters outside his presidential palace in 2012.

In June 2015, a court sentenced Morsy to death in a prison breaks case and to life in prison in the conspiracy case. In June 2016, a separate court sentenced Morsy to life in prison in the espionage case. All of these verdicts have been overturned on appeal, and the cases are being retried. His 20-year sentence in the presidential palace clashes case was upheld on appeal, and he remains on trial in the case involving alleged insults to the judiciary.

“Egypt should stop this cruel retaliation against Morsy and his family,” Stork said. “As with all detainees, Morsy’s rights should be fully respected and guaranteed.”
-0- PANA MA 19June2017

19 june 2017 05:43:53

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