British MPs say Egypt ex-President Morsi at risk of death due to poor prison conditions

British MPs say Egypt ex-President Morsi at risk of death due to poor prison conditions
A new report by three British lawmakers warned that Morsi, who suffers from several health conditions, could die in detention due to poor prison conditions.
2 min read
28 March, 2018
Morsi during his 2014 trial at the Cairo Police Academy [Getty]

Inadequate prison conditions could lead to the premature death of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, according to a new report by three British MPs.

The former Islamist leader of Egypt, who was the first democratically elected head of state in the country's history, was deposed in a 2014 coup. Morsi has a history of health issues including diabetes and liver and kidney disease.

According to AFP, the Independent Detention Review Panel released their findings on Wednesday. They highlighted that the 66-year-old Morsi is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, which could be classified as torture under UN guidelines. 

"Our conclusions are stark," said Crispin Blunt, an MP and the panel's chairman. 

"On his health, the denial of basic medical treatment to which he is entitled could lead to his premature death. The whole overseeing chain of command up to the current President would have responsibility for this," he added.

The panel had asked to visit Morsi and inspect conditions at the facility where he was being held, but Egyptian authorities have not replied to the request. 

The report drew material from testimonies, witness statements, NGO reports, and independently submitted evidence. The panel also spoke with Abdullah Morsi, the ex-president's son, who said he has been denied visitation.

Abdullah called on the international community to condemn prison conditions for his father and "push the Egyptian government to allow his family to visit, and for him to receive medical care". 

"We do not want him to die in prison," he said.

Morsi's year in office was deeply divisive in Egypt. The military ousted Morsi following mass protests that broke out against the Islamist president.

Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, then-defence minister under Morsi, currently heads Egypt as president. The Egyptian regime under Sisi has carried out a widespread crackdown on dissent, with tens of thousands jailed -- mostly Islamists but also secularists, activists, and other groups.

Egyptian elections are currently underway, with the polls closing at 9pm Wednesday. Sisi's sole opponent is Moussa Mostafa Moussa, who is a government supporter. Most observers say the president is virtually guaranteed to win re-election after at least five other opponents were jailed or sidelined. 

Egyptian authorities have warned citizens to vote or risk paying a $30 fine. Voter turnout is expected to be low. 

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