Why did former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi's death stir intense criticism of Sisi-led regime?
Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was forced to die by Egyptian authorities who left him unattended for a long time after he collapsed in a court room on Monday, said Hamza Zawba, the former spokesman of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's political wing the Freedom and Justice Party.
The Brotherhood movement left a significant mark on Egypt’s modern political history and Morsi played a crucial role in it.
After a year into his presidential term, Morsi was ousted in a bloody coup led by Abdel Fattah el Sisi, then military general appointed by Morsi, in August 2013
"The authorities let him die by delaying his treatment," Zawba told TRT World.
“So there is a crime. There is a political crime behind his death. We don’t know if he was poisoned, if he was injected by any drug or anything else. Nobody knows what actually happened,” said Zawba, who is currently an anchor at Istanbul-based Mukemmeliyin TV, a media outlet run by dissident Egyptians in exile.
Zawba said he was not only Morsi's political companion but also one of his close friends.
Under Sisi’s rule, Zawba said he won't be surprised to know if Morsi was poisoned or killed by other means. He said he expects anything from what he described as “the criminal coup leaders.”
"They can do whatever they please to do as long as they have complete immunity. There is neither judicial or parliamentary oversight nor any critical scrutiny from the press."
“We all know that he was killed by the coup [before his physical death]. He was killed on the same day they made the military coup. Once you take a [democratically elected] president out of his office, it means a political death [for him],” Zawba continued.
After the coup, Sisi turned Egypt into an authoritarian state, arresting tens of thousands of people and suppressing the free press.
Morsi was one of 60,000 political prisoners the Sisi regime has jailed since the coup. They have been deprived of basic needs and subjected to inhumane treatment, according to several human rights organisations.
“He [Morsi] was deprived of basic rights. No visits [from family members or friends]. No meetings with his lawyers and advocates. No access to newspapers. He wasn't even allowed to read the Holy Quran,” Zawba said.
A British parliamentary group released a report in early 2018, indicated that Morsi's ailing health would lead to his “premature death” due to “inadequate medical care, particularly inadequate management of his diabetes, and inadequate management of his liver disease."
Morsi had been kept in solitary confinement for six years at the country’s notorious Tora Prison, also known as Scorpion Prison, where inmates are left in dire circumstances that eventually lead to death, according to former prisoners.
The panel also pointed out that Morsi’s treatment amounted to torture and the country’s general-turned-president "could, in principle, be responsible for the crime of torture."
“Two years ago, Morsi, may God bless him, was in court. He said, ‘my life is at risk.’ Nobody listened to him,” Zawba said.
The Sisi regime was swift to bury Morsi in Cairo's Medinat Nasr, denying him a public funeral in his hometown in the Nile Delta province of Sharqia. The restricted burial took place at a cemetery close to the area where Sisi’s security forces committed the country’s largest massacre in August 2013, killing more than 800 people in a single day.
The Sisi regime allowed only 10 family members to attend the funeral ceremony.
“Morsi was scaring them during his life. And he is scaring them even after his death,” Zawba said.