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Jakarta Post

The death of Egypt's Morsi

  • Editorial Board

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Wed, June 19, 2019   /   10:58 am
The death of Egypt's Morsi In mourning: A man holds up a picture of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi during a symbolic funeral prayer in the courtyard of Fatih Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday. (Reuters/Murad Sezer )

It is regrettable that Egyptian President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi refused to allow a decent funeral service for Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first democratically elected president.

The failure to conduct such a service in accordance with Morsi’s status was damaging, not just to the reputation of President Sisi, but also to that of the highly civilized nation.

Morsi’s predecessor, Hosni Mubarak, was much luckier, although he allegedly committed more serious crimes than Morsi. Mubarak was released from prison after serving six years of his sentence in 2017 after the court overruled the verdict of lower courts. Mubarak was treated well in prison and his family was also well protected by the military.

As reported by international news agencies, Sisi rejected a family request to bury the leading figure of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood, in his home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta.

Morsi was buried in eastern Cairo in a quiet ceremony, a day after his startling death on Monday. The family was not allowed to hold a public funeral, because the government sought to prevent the funeral turning into a massive antigovernment demonstration.

“We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, read prayers for him at the prison hospital [...] and the burial was at the Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guides,” Morsi’s son Ahmed Morsi said in a statement.

Morsi collapsed shortly after he was allowed by the judge to defend himself in an espionage trial in Cairo on Monday. Morsi died after allegedly suffering mistreatment and psychological torture during his six years’ imprisonment by the military and the government.

He won Egypt’s first democratic election in June 2012, after massive protests forced Mubarak to end his brutal regime. Morsi, however, was toppled by his own defense minister Sisi one year later. The Muslim Brotherhood was then declared a terrorist organization, and this decision was widely praised by western countries.

The leaders of Turkey and Qatar were among Morsi’s few longstanding friends. “History will never forget those tyrants who led to his death by putting him in jail and threatening him with execution,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

Egypt is among the most influential countries in the Arab world. There was high expectation that the Arab Spring would flourish after Mubarak’s fall in 2011, expectations quickly dashed by Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Nevertheless, President Sisi showed that the leader of a supposedly great nation rejected a simple gesture of humanity for the family of its former president.