The pro-Sisi judiciary in Egypt continues to pursue the family members of the former president Mohammed Morsi.
Abdullah’s father, who was Egypt’s first democratically-elected president, passed away earlier this year in a courtroom after he suddenly collapsed during a court hearing on June 17.
Abdel Fattah el Sisi, the Egyptian strongman, seized power from Morsi through a military coup in August 2013, imprisoning him and his supporters. While the deaths of the former president and his son are painful enough for the family, the country’s judges have not let up their case on Morsi’s heirs, on the grounds that Morsi ‘insulted’ the judiciary.
Despite the death of Mohammed Morsi, the Judges’ Club, which is not a state entity, will continue to pursue its case against Morsi, according to official sources. The club is holding Morsi's family members responsible for a controversial court decision ruling that the former president pay one million Egyptian pounds ($60,322) to compensate the so-called damage to judges. These are the same judged who have facilitated Sisi’s brutal regime since he took over in a coup.
“It’s ridiculous. Something you will never see here or in any other respectable place. Only in Egypt, you hear or read these ‘funny’ allegations,” said Hamza Zawba, one of Morsi’s friends and a former spokesman for the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of the Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
“This is not a case of one judge having gone off the rails. You have an entire justice system that’s going off the rails,” Sarah Leah Whitson, Executive Director of the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, observed in 2014.
Zawba thinks that the situation in Egypt is totally out of order and the Judges’ Club’s case against Morsi’s family is just like a bad joke.
“They took the president out of his office by the military coup. They tried him. They did not find anything against him by the way. Then, they killed him,” Zawba said.
Morsi’s death could be considered murder as he was neglected for for 20 minutes after he collapsed in court, according to experts including Zawba. Morsi reportedly had serious health conditions, which only worsened in prison and were repeatedly highlighed by human rights groups and his family.
“This Judges’ Club or thieves of Egyptian judicial system [have committed] fraud many times during [the rule of Hosni] Mubarak. Most of them should be tried [instead of Morsi and his supporters],” Zawba told TRT World.
The case against Morsi originates from a 2013 statement, in which the former president accused Ali Mohamed Ahmed al Nemr and another 22 judges of helping vote-rigging in the 2005 elections. Al Nemr, who was instrumental in acquitting Mubarak’s sons and other Mubarak officials from corruption charges in the past, is one of Sisi’s powerful allies in the judiciary.
“At the end of the day, they [the Judges’ Club] claimed that the Morsi family should pay for them. This is something silly and funny,” Zawba said.
“They put more pressure on the family of President Morsi and they even tried to chase him [even after his death]. They did not forget that he tried to reconstruct the judicial system,” Zawba reasoned.
But the Morsi family is not the only target for Sisi. The Sisi government is also punishing other Muslim Brotherhood members, mostly on trumped up charges.
Aisha al Shater, the daughter of Khairat al Shater, a key Brotherhood leader, is one of them. In November 2018, she was arrested with her husband and is believed to have been in prison since then. She has reportedly been deprived of a toilet, shower and sanitary products.
Ola al Qaradawi, the daughter of famed Islamic scholar Yousef al Qaradawi, who lives in Qatar in exile, and her husband, are also other targets of Sisi's judiciary.
They were imprisoned in 2017 and are still believed to be in prison, though they have not been formally charged.
“[We have] an unfair system, which is a polite phrase [to describe the Sisi regime]. If you are living in a police-run regime under the marshall law, the military governs every corner of your life [which is what happens in Egypt],” Zawba said.
As a result, everybody suffers in Egypt, according to Zawba.
“Average citizens of Egypt are suffering because of soaring prices, low income and the absence of a real justice [system],” he concluded.