Why Morsi's latest letter was allowed out of prison

Why Morsi's latest letter was allowed out of prison
Analysis: Morsi's latest letter raises questions about how it could have been released - and what it changes.
4 min read
26 May, 2015
Morsi is still popular with many Egyptians [Al-Araby]

The timing of the release of a letter written by Egypt's former president, Mohamed Morsi, has raised questions.

Morsi was allowed to meet with his son, Osama, during a trial session - despite a ban on such interactions.

The meeting has led to conspiratorial conjecture and speculation that Egypt's regime allowed the meeting, knowing a letter would be passed from father to son, which would be leaked and spark anger among Morsi's supporters across the country.

Security authorities prevented visitors from seeing Morsi, even during trial sessions. This caused major problems, particularly for his lawyers. However, what is strange here is that officials allowed his son to sit with him.

The regime's plan?

According to a security analyst, the leaked letter was a ploy by the current regime to provoke Morsi's supporters into protesting in large numbers, starting a violent confrontation in order to justify killing opposition protesters.

Badri called on Morsi to boycott the farce of the so-called "trials", and to cancel his attorney's authorisation to represent him.

"Egyptian security knew that if any member of Morsi's family managed to sit alone with him, he would give them a letter to pass on to his supporters," he said. The authorities intentionally suspended the ban on individual visits to Morsi for this reason, he said.

"There must be a reason, perhaps because the authorities know that the letter will be followed by a violent wave of protests, thus justifying more oppression, violence, and killing."

Cairo wants to create new tensions to influence global public opinion to favour the execution of Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood leaders, our source speculated.

The timing of the letter was significant, as some Morsi opponents had recently called for an end to the crisis rather than the continuing spiral of violence.

However, in a statement, Salafist Front leader Moustafa al-Badri said the lack of anything new in the letter would weaken its impact on the movement, and that Morsi should have used the opportunity to tell the public about "hidden matters" in order to have a wider impact.

Badri also called upon Morsi to boycott "the farce of the trials", and to cancel his lawyer's authorisation to that effect.

In addition, Badri emphasised the importance of Morsi issuing presidential resolutions as if he was still in power, so the public would know about his plans after the fall of the coup-installed regime. Such a fall seems inevitable in the eyes of Morsi's supporters.

In his letter, Morsi called on his supporters to hold on.

"Continue your revolution and do not back down," he said. "I believe the revolution will succeed and the coup will come to an end.

"The death sentence did not affect me, and it is the same as a sniper's decision to kill someone. I insist on my anti-coup stance... I offer my condolences to all the families of the martyrs, and I salute the perseverance of all the detainees and the oppressed. The revolution will return their rights and demands."

Morsi's motivations?

Hamdi Sotouhi, head of the Egyptian Justice Party, said Morsi's letter contained nothing new.

Morsi is trying to send a message he does not care about the death sentence. - Hamdi Sotouhi

"Morsi is trying to send a message he does not care about the death sentence. This could affect his supporters," Sotouhi told al-Araby al-Jadeed.

The letter was a natural reaction after the harassment he was subjected to and the death sentences issued against Brotherhood leaders, he said.

Sotouhi warned against the consequences of going through with the death sentences and harassment against the youths, as they might respond with violence. He also emphasised the need to end the current crisis as soon as possible, ending the turmoil for good and focusing on building Egypt.

Sotouhi also demanded Cairo begin to apply transitional justice and start democratic change, as the only ways to save Egypt and protect the country from terrorism.

Political analyst Mukhtar Ghabashi told al-Araby al-Jadeed that Morsi's letter was mere propaganda, to urge his supporters to continue protesting and attempting to bring down the regime.

"Morsi released this letter to give the impression that he was indifferent about the death sentence, and that he would accept his fate, even if it meant his execution, if it served the revolution," Ghabashi said.

"The letter mostly pressures the current regime to avoid the execution of Morsi and the Brotherhood leaders, as there is no going back from such a step."

Ghabashi said the Egyptian regime would lose its bargaining chip with the Brotherhood and its supporters - further complicating the crisis.

International pressure to stop Morsi's execution will likely increase, particularly following the release of his letter, which was published in several international newspapers, he said.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.