Morsi President of Egypt - History

Morsi President of Egypt - History

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After the ouster of Egyptian President Mubarak, the interim government led by the Egyptian military scheduled elections for the President. These elections followed earlier elections for the parliament in which Islamist parties won the majority of the votes. During the revolution the Muslim Brotherhood had promised not to have one of their members run in the Presidential elections, but they changed their mind. The initial candidate on behalf the Brotherhood was Khairat El-Shater He was disqualified and as a result Mohamed Morsi Isa El-Ayya,. who received a PhD at the University of Southern California in the United States became their candidate.

Morse was not considered to be a particular good campaigner. In the first round of voting held on May 23-24 2012, Morsi won a plurality of the votes, gaining 24.78 percent of the vote. He faced Ahmed Shafik a candidate of the Egyptian establishment in the second round of the vote. That election was held on June 16-17 2012. In that election Morsi won 51.7 percent of the vote, thus becoming the first freely elected President of Egypt

Sisi graduated from the Egyptian Military Academy in 1977, then served in the infantry. Like other Egyptian officers of his generation, he never saw combat, but he advanced through the ranks to command a mechanized infantry division and then served as the commander of Egypt’s northern military region. In 2010 he was appointed to the post of director of military intelligence.

Following the ouster of Egyptian Pres. Hosni Mubarak after an uprising in January and February 2011, Sisi was the youngest member of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), a body of senior military officers that took over the governing of Egypt. He was elevated to the positions of defense minister and commander of the armed forces in August 2012 when Morsi, embroiled in a power struggle with the military, managed to force the most senior members of the SCAF into retirement and then promoted the little-known Sisi to the top position.

Organization marks 2nd anniversary of death of Egypt's Mohamed Morsi

An online conference kicked off Thursday to mark the second anniversary of the death of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi with prominent public figures from the Arab world taking part.

The conference was organized by the London-based Morsi Foundation for Democracy and included speeches from former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the grand imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and Father Manuel Musallam, a member of the Defense Committee for Islamic and Christian Holy Sites in Palestine.

"We are here to convey the goals that [Morsi] lived and died for, and we are proud of his legacy," said Marzouki.

Speaking on behalf of Morsi's family, TV anchor Mohamed Helal said his family "receives the second anniversary of the martyrdom of the president [Morsi] at a time they received confirmation that his third son, Osama Morsi, was sentenced to 10 years in the case of the Rabaa sit-in dispersal."

Morsi's family expressed their appreciation to all those who stood for Morsi, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani.

The Morsi Foundation for Democracy was founded in June 2020 in London by his family and lawyers with the aim of defending freedom and democracy in the world.

Morsi, a leading member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, had won Egypt's first free presidential election in 2012. But just a year later, he was not only ousted but imprisoned after a coup led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt's then-defense minister and current president.

Morsi passed away in a Cairo courtroom on June 17, 2019. He was facing a host of legal charges, which many human rights groups and independent observers said were politically motivated.

Mohammed Morsi

Mohammed Morsi was declared President of Egypt on 24 June 2012, becoming the first democratically elected president in that nation's history. Morsi, a professor of engineering from Zagazig University, was elected in a run-off election as the candidate from the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party. He emerged as that party's candidate after others in his party were disqualified from running-- in the first presidential election since the removal of Hosni Mubarak in February of 2011. Morsi won 51.7% of the vote over Ahmed Shafiq, a general who had been Mubarak's last prime minister. Morsi earned his engineering degrees at Cairo University in the late 1970s, and around the same time, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood. He spent the early 1980s in the United States, earning a doctorate from the University of Southern California in 1982, then working as a professor at California State University in Northridge from 1982 until 1985. After 1985 he taught at Zagazig University and rose in the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although Morsi was not known as a dynamic candidate, the grassroots support provided by the Muslim Brotherhood helped him edge out Shafiq to become Egypt's first Islamic president. Promising to unite Egypt, Mosri resigned from his party upon assuming the presidency, but his close ties to the fundamentalist Islamic group and the instability of the Egyptian government made things difficult. After months of protests by anti-Morsi groups, there was a military coup in Egypt on 3 July 2013.


Hated equally by both orthodox Wahhabis and Egyptian secularists, Mohammed Morsi invited much criticism for his statements made in public.

He and the Muslim Brotherhood are often criticized by orthodox Wahhabis for not being enough “religious” and some religious scholars even accuse them of being agents of the “freemasonry” and the US. Some orthodox schools also criticized them for not keeping beards long enough and not wearing traditional clothes.

The secularist Egyptians criticize Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood for calling to re-establish the Caliphate, reorganize the country’s socio-economic order on Islamic principles and make Quran the constitution of the country i.e., sharia law.

Mohammed Morsi’s statements gain much international attention when in of his speeches he said “The capital of the Caliphate and United Arab states is Jerusalem, God willing… the people want to implement God’s law” and in another place, he said “Quran is our constitution, The Prophet(PBUH) is our leader, Jihad in the way of God is our path and death in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

Today marks the second anniversary of the death of Mohammed Morsi

Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, died at 67 in court during a trial two years ago.

Morsi's death on June 17, 2019, was suspicious, but the junta declared that he collapsed in court and soon died at the hospital, leaving opaque questions about his death.

Egyptian state television announced on 17 June 2019 that Morsi had collapsed during a court hearing on espionage charges at Cairo's Tora prison complex, and later died suddenly, reportedly of a heart attack.

His lawyer reported that Morsi was allowed to speak for 7 minutes from inside the glass box prior to adjourning the session, which he concluded with his final words, a verse from a poem that reads "My country is dear even if it oppressed me and my people are honorable even if they were unjust to me", to collapse a minute after adjourning the session. He was buried in Cairo alongside other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Critics of the Egyptian government blamed the conditions of the trial for Morsi's death, saying that the conditions he was held under were the cause.

Mohamed Sudan, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member based in London, had described his death as "premeditated murder".

Crispin Blunt, who had led a panel of British parliamentarians that had reviewed the conditions Morsi was held under in March 2018, said that "We feared that if Dr. Morsi was not provided with urgent medical assistance, the damage to his health may be permanent and possibly terminal" and that "sadly, we have been proved right."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan blamed the Egyptian leadership for Morsi's death, describing him as a martyr. Religious ceremonies were held in Istanbul.

At the same time, Amnesty International also called for a fair, transparent, and comprehensive Egyptian investigation into Mohammed Morsi's death.

Mada Masr reported that the Egyptian government had imposed censorship on coverage of Morsi's death, including requiring newspapers to use a brief, identically-worded account with no reference to his presidency, nor any allegations surrounding responsibility for his death. They were also told not to place the story on their front pages.

Almost all Egyptian newspapers complied with the order, but Al-Masry Al-Youm placed the story on their front page and did mention his presidency.

Mohammed Morsi Issa Al-Ayyat

Mohammed Morsi was an Egyptian politician and engineer who served as Egypt's first democratically elected president from 30 June 2012 to 3 July 2013, when General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi removed him from office in a coup d'état. Morsi led the Freedom and Justice Party from 2011 to 2012.

Morsi was born in El Adwah, Sharqia Governorate before studying metallurgical engineering at Cairo University and then materials science at the University of Southern California.

He became an associate professor at California State University, Northridge from 1982 to 1985 before returning to Egypt to teach at Zagazig University.

Associating with the Muslim Brotherhood, which was then barred from office under President Hosni Mubarak, Morsi stood as an independent candidate for the 2000 parliamentary elections. Following the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, which resulted in Mubarak's resignation, Morsi came to the forefront as head of the Freedom and Justice Party.

It became the largest party in the 2011-12 parliamentary election and Morsi was elected president in the 2012 presidential election.

On 3 July 2013, Abdul Fattah el-Sissi, the head of the Egyptian armed forces, led a military coup, arrested Morsi, killed 3,533 innocent people, and arrested myriads of others. He suspended the constitution and appointed Adly Mansour as interim president. He also outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood once again.

After his overthrow, Morsi faced several charges including inciting the killing of opponents protesting outside his palace, espionage for foreign militant groups including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), for escaping Wadi el-Natroun Prison during the 2011 revolution prior to his election as president, leaking classified documents to Qatar, in addition to "insulting the judiciary".

On 1 September 2013, prosecutors referred Morsi to trial on charges of inciting deadly violence. The date was set for 4 November 2013. Morsi was to be tried in a criminal court for inciting his supporters to kill at least 10 opponents, use violence and torture protesters. The prosecutors' investigation revealed that Morsi had asked the Republican Guard and the minister of interior to break up his opponents' sit-in but they refused, fearing a bloody result before Morsi's aides asked his supporters to break up the sit-in with force.

Prosecutor General Hisham Barakat ordered the referral of Morsi to criminal court on charges of espionage, in a report headed "The Biggest Case of Espionage in the History of Egypt". According to the Prosecutor General's investigations, the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, aided by Hezbollah and Hamas, is the reason behind violence inside Egypt.

Morsi faced trial for the second time on the charge of breaking out of jail during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, after conspiring with foreign militant groups, including Hamas, to spread violent chaos throughout Egypt. The trial was postponed for a month on 1 February 2014 and was resumed on charges of inciting deadly violence. The trial was adjourned to the next day to hear witnesses for the prosecution and was then repeatedly postponed.

The court convicted Morsi, along with 12 other defendants, including former MP Mohamed Beltagy, for the arrest and torture of protesters and incitement to violence in April 2015. All defendants were acquitted of murder charges. The judge handed down 20-year sentences for Morsi and the others who were convicted. Morsi still faced separate trials for espionage, terrorism, and prison-break charges and was sentenced to death on 16 May along with other defendants. The death penalty was imposed on Morsi and 105 others for their role in the Wadi el-Natrun prison break of January 2011. In accordance with Egypt's penal code, the sentence was referred to the Grand Mufti, whose assent or dissent is legally non-binding.

Amnesty International denounced the court process as "a charade based on null and void procedures." Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticized Egypt and accused Western countries of hypocrisy, "While the West is abolishing the death penalty, they are just watching the continuation of death sentences in Egypt."

Morsi was given a life sentence for passing state secrets to Qatar in June 2016. He was one of the defendants in the case along with two Al-Jazeera journalists who were sentenced to death in absentia.

In November 2016, the court of cassation overturned Morsi's death penalty on the spying charges together with those of five other Muslim Brotherhood members. The same court was to review two other charges against Morsi for his role in the January 2011 prison break as well as for allegedly providing classified information to the government of Qatar.

After his ouster, Morsi was held in Tora Prison, in a special wing nicknamed Scorpion prison. A detention review panel, consisting of UK members of parliament and senior lawyers including Crispin Blunt, Edward Faulks, and Paul Williams, reviewed Morsi's detention conditions. Based on the testimonies of Morsi's family and others informed of his condition, the panel noted that he received inadequate medical care for diabetes, called his treatment "cruel, inhuman and degrading" and said it could "meet the threshold for torture in accordance [with] Egyptian and international law". According to his sons, his health had deteriorated significantly after his imprisonment.

On 17 June 2019, Egyptian state television announced that Morsi had collapsed during a court hearing on espionage charges at Cairo's Tora prison complex, and later died suddenly, reportedly of a heart attack. (ILKHA)

YASAL UYARI: Yayınlanan yazılı haber, fotoğraf ve videonun tüm hakları İlke Haber Ajansı Basın Yayın San. Tic. A.Ş.'ye aittir. Hiçbir surette haber, fotoğraf ve videonun tamamı veya bir kısmı yazılı sözleşme yapılmadan veya abone olmadan kullanılamaz.

Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidate Morsi wins Egyptian presidential election

Muslim Brotherhood-backed candidate Mohammed Morsi was declared the winner in Egypt's first free presidential election in history by the country's elections commission.

In Tahrir Square, the birthplace of the uprising that ousted autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, joyous Morsi supporters wept and kneeled on the ground in prayer. They danced, set off fireworks and released doves in the air with Morsi's picture attached in celebrations not seen in the square since Mubarak was forced out on Feb. 11, 2011.

In his first televised speech on state TV, Morsi pledged Sunday to preserve Egypt's international accords, a reference to the peace deal with Israel.

He paid tribute to nearly 900 protesters killed in last year's uprising, saying without the "blood of the martyrs," he would not have made it to the presidency.

In a non-confrontational speech, he did not mention the last-minute power grab by the ruling military that stripped the president of most of his major powers.

"I pledge to be a president who serves his people and works for them," Morsi said on his official web page. "I will not betray God in defending your rights and the rights of this nation." He was scheduled to address the nation Sunday night in his first speech after being declared president.

Many are looking now to see if Morsi will try to take on the military and wrestle back the powers they took from his office just one week ago. Thousands vowed to remain in Tahrir to demand that the ruling generals reverse their decision.

On the sidelines of the political drama are the liberal and secular youth groups that drove the uprising against Mubarak, left to wonder whether Egypt has taken a step towards becoming an Islamist state. Some grudgingly supported Morsi in the face of Ahmed Shafiq, who was Mubarak's last prime minister, while others boycotted the vote.

Morsi will now have to reassure them that he represents the whole country, not just Islamists, and will face enormous challenges after security and the economy badly deteriorated in the transition period.

Pro-democracy leader Mohammed ElBaradei urged unity after the results were announced.

"It is time we work all as Egyptians as part of a national consensus to build Egypt that is based on freedom and social justice," he wrote on his Twitter account.

The elections left the nation deeply polarized with one side backing Shafiq, who promised to provide stability and prevent Egypt from becoming a theocracy. Because of his military career, many saw him as the military's preferred candidate.

In the other camp are those eager for democratic change and backers of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood who were persecuted, jailed and banned under Mubarak but now find themselves one of the two most powerful groups in Egypt.

The other is the ruling military council that took power after the uprising and is headed by Mubarak's defense minister of 20 years.

Just one week ago, at the moment polls were closing in the runoff election, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) issued constitutional amendments that stripped the president's office of most of its major powers. The ruling generals made themselves the final arbiters over the most pressing issues still complicating the transition-- such as writing the constitution, legislating, passing the state budget-- and granted military police broad powers to detain civilians.

"I am happy the Brotherhood won because now the revolution will continue on the street against both of them, the Brotherhood and the SCAF," said Lobna Darwish, an activist who has boycotted the elections.

Morsi, the 60-year old U.S.-trained engineer, narrowly defeated Shafiq with 51.7 percent of the vote versus 48.3, by a margin of only 800,000 votes, the election commission said. Turnout was 51 percent.

Also, a few days before that constitutional declaration, a court dissolved the freely elected parliament, which is dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, leaving the military now in charge of legislating.

"The revolution passed an important test,"said Yasser Ali, a spokesman for Morsi's campaign. "But the road is still long."

Another Morsi's spokesman Ahmed Abdel-Attie said words cannot describe the "joy" in this historic moment.

"We got to this moment because of the blood of the martyrs of the revolution," he said at a news conference after the results were announced. "Egypt will start a new phase in its history."

This is the first time modern Egypt will be headed by an Islamist and by a freely elected civilian. The country's last four presidents over the past six decades have all came from the ranks of the military.

"Congratulations because this means the end of the Mubarak state," said Shady el-Ghazali Harb, a prominent activist who was among the leaders of the protests in January and February last year.

The results of the elections were delayed for four days amid accusations of manipulation and foul play by both sides, raising political tensions in Egypt to a fever pitch.

The delay plunged the country into nerve-wrecking anticipation and pushed tensions to a fever pitch. Parallel mass rallies by Shafiq and Morsi supporters were held in different parts of Cairo and cut-throat media attacks by supporters of both swarmed TV shows. In the hours before the announcement of the winner, the fear of new violence was palpable.

Heavy security was deployed around the country, especially outside state institutions, in anticipation of possible violence. Workers were sent home early from jobs, jewelry stores closed for fear of looting and many were stocking up on food and forming long lines at cash machines in case new troubles began.

Farouk Sultan, the head of the commission, described the elections as "an important phase in the end of building our nascent democratic experience."

Sultan went to pains to explain the more than 400 complaints presented by the two candidates challenging counting procedures and alleging attempts of rigging. It appeared to be an attempt to discredit claims that the election commission was biased in favor of Shafiq, the candidate perceived as backed by the military rulers.

Brotherhood members and experts said the results were used a bargaining chip between the generals and the Brotherhood over the parameters of what appears to be a new power sharing agreement.

The country's new constitution is not written and the authorities of the president are not clear.

The country is deeply divided between supporters of the Brotherhood, liberals and leftists who also decided to back them as a way to stand up to the military, and other secular forces that fear the domination of the Brotherhood, and grew critical of it in the past year. The small margin of victory for Morsi also sets him for a strong opposition from supporters of Shafiq, viewed as a representative of the old regime.

Naguib Sawiris, a Coptic Christian business tycoon who joined a liberal bloc in voicing opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood a day before the results were announced, said that he expects the new president to send a reassuring message to Egypt's Christian minority who represents around 10 percent of the population of 85 million .

"There are fears of imposing an Islamic state, and Egypt becomes an Islamic state where Christians don't have same rights," Sawiris told the private TV station CBC. Morsi "is required to prove the opposite. We don't want speeches or promises but in the coming period, it is about taking action. He was not our choice but we are accepting it is a democratic choice."

Hamdeen Sabahi, a leftist presidential candidate who came in a surprising third place in the first round of elections, asked Morsi to live up to his pledges to form a national coalition government and appoint presidential aides from different groups "that express the largest national consensus."

Khaled Abdel-Hamid, a leading leftist politician, said Morsi must fight to get his powers back or he will lose any popular support he may have garnered.

"If he fights to get his power back, we will support him. But if does fight back, then he is settling for siding with the military," he said.

Protesters in Tahrir have said they will not leave the square, in which they have been holding a sit-in for nearly a week, until Morsi can restore his rightful powers.

Egypt's history of erasing presidents from Naguib to Morsi

When Mohamed Morsi died on June 17, Egyptian state-controlled media made every effort to minimise his legacy. Announcements of his death made no mention of the fact that he had been Egypt's president, serving from 2012 until he was deposed in a military coup in 2013. Some Egyptian newspapers ignored his death or relegated it to the centre pages, providing only brief notices.

Morsi was Egypt's first democratically elected president, but he wasn't the first that the Egyptian state had tried to erase from memory and he wasn't the first to suffer at the hands of the same state he had tried to lead.

When General Mohamed Naguib died in 1984, alone, confined to the same house for 30 years, and suffering from depression, few Egyptians under the age of 30 had heard of his name. Egyptian schoolbooks didn't mention him and the Egyptian press had forgotten him.

However, Mohamed Naguib was Egypt's first ever president, holding the office from 1953 to 1954. The circumstances of Naguib's coming to power and the way he was removed from power were very different from Morsi's but there are striking similarities in the way the memory of the two presidents &ndash and what they represented &ndash were hidden by the Egyptian state.

Egyptian history books usually refer to the July 1952 overthrow of King Farouk as a "revolution" but it is more accurate to call it a military coup.

By 1952, the Egyptian monarchy had lost legitimacy among many Egyptians and was seen as corrupt and subservient to Britain, which maintained 80,000 troops in the Suez Canal area and dominated Egypt's affairs. Naguib came to power as head of the Free Officers' Movement, a group of nationalist officers dedicated to overthrowing the monarchy, ridding Egypt of British domination, and restoring Egypt's pride after it had been defeated in the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The rest of the Free Officers were younger and lower in rank than Naguib and they needed a leader with authority. At 51 years of age, Naguib was chosen to head the Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) which took power after the July 1952 coup because of the independence he had shown King Farouk before. He had attempted to resign from the army when the British forced Farouk to appoint Mustafa Nahhas as prime minister in 1942 and his prestige had increased after he was wounded in battle during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

The Free Officers' overthrow of Farouk received widespread support among Egyptians. Farouk was forced to abdicate in favour of his infant son, Ahmed Fouad II, who reigned for less than a year before Naguib declared Egypt a republic with himself as president on June 18, 1953.

Farouk was forced to abdicate in favour of his infant son, Ahmed Fouad II, who reigned for less than a year before Naguib declared Egypt a republic with himself as president on June 18, 1953

From leader to figurehead

Naguib had by this time gained great personal popularity among Egyptians. He promised that the Egyptian military had not seized power permanently and would restore democracy.

In the end, he was never given a chance to act on this promise. As head of the RCC, Naguib abrogated the 1923 constitution, dissolved all political parties (many of which were tainted by association with the monarchy) and issued a new constitutional declaration, but he found himself sidelined by the younger Free Officers of the RCC, who would take and implement decisions without him. By early 1954, it was clear that they saw Naguib as a figurehead, with themselves as the real rulers of the country.

Naguib angrily submitted his resignation on February 22, 1954, and this was accepted by the RCC. However, a wave of popular protests supporting Naguib forced the RCC to reinstate him just five days later. The following month, measures to restore democratic politics and dissolve the RCC were announced.

Naguib with the Free Officers. By early 1954 they were taking decisions without reference to him [Getty]

However, the other RCC members, led by Colonel Gamal Abdul Nasser, moved quickly against Naguib's power and authority.

Naguib had, until March 1954, held both the posts of president and prime minister of Egypt. At the end of March he was forced to give up the post of prime minister to Nasser and from then onwards, he was excluded from the RCC's decision-making process.

By early 1954, it was clear that they saw Naguib as a figurehead, with themselves as the real rulers of the country

Removed for 'Muslim Brotherhood sympathies'

While monarchy-era political parties such as the Wafd Party and the Liberal Constitutional Party had been abolished after the 1952 coup, political life in Egypt continued.

The Muslim Brotherhood supported the coup, as did the Communist Democratic Front for National Liberation. Both groups were allowed to continue operating but differences between the Muslim Brotherhood and the RCC quickly emerged when the RCC promulgated a secular constitution for Egypt.

In October 1954, there was an assassination attempt against Nasser in Alexandria, which Nasser blamed on the Brotherhood.

The Brotherhood was dissolved and thousands of its members were arrested and later tortured or executed. Naguib was accused of sympathising with the Brotherhood and this was used as a pretext for his removal as president.

Nasser assumed the presidency, and by that time the only legal political organisation left was the Liberation Rally, set up by the RCC in 1953. Egypt would spend the next 58 years &ndash until the 2011 &ndash as an authoritarian state under the domination of one political party and the military, undergoing limited liberalisation under Anwar Sadat in the 1970s.

All references removed

After his removal as president, Naguib was placed under house arrest in a villa in Cairo belonging to Zainab al-Wakil, the wife of monarchy-era Prime Minister Mustafa Nahhas.

Not content with Naguib's removal from power, Nasser had all references to Naguib in official documents expunged. History textbooks in schools would refer to Nasser as the first president of Egypt without any mention of Naguib.

Naguib wasn't released from house arrest until 1971, shortly after Nasser's death and Anwar Sadat's assumption of the presidency. But by that time, he had got so used to his imprisonment that he refused to leave the villa he was confined to, preferring the company of cats and dogs to people, saying that animals were far more trustworthy than humans.

Egypt would spend the next 58 years &ndash until the 2011 &ndash as an authoritarian state under the domination of one political party

Before his death from cirrhosis of the liver in 1984, he wrote a memoir entitled I was a President of Egypt, the title of which seemed to be a correction to his erasure from history by the Nasser regime.

Towards the end of his life, Naguib suffered from depression and preferred the company of animals to people [Wikimedia Commons]

Naguib's brief time in power was one of hope &ndash hope that Egypt could become a truly independent country, no longer a British colony in all but name.

He held out the promise of a return to democracy and political organisations continued to operate under his rule. This all came to an end when Naguib was deposed and placed under house arrest, with all references to him in official communication erased.

Similarly, the period after Egypt's 2011 revolution was a time of hope that Egypt could leave behind decades of authoritarianism and become a true democracy.

When democratic presidential elections &ndash won by Mohamed Morsi &ndash were held in 2012, these hopes seemed closer to reality than ever. However, like Naguib, Morsi was confronted by institutions and a military determined to stop any transition to democracy.

Before he became president, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) took steps to make sure that Morsi, like Naguib, would only be a figurehead without any real authority, by restricting presidential powers and assuming the powers of a parliament which sat for only three months in 2012 before being dissolved.

While Morsi tried to overturn SCAF's moves to limit his powers, he ultimately failed and was also deposed in a coup which quickly brought political life in Egypt to an end, re-establishing Egypt firmly as an authoritarian state which persecuted not only the Muslim Brotherhood but also secular political activists, some of whom had celebrated Morsi's removal from power.

Morsi was of course held in much harsher conditions than Mohammed Naguib, in solitary confinement without adequate medical care. These conditions meant that he would only live six years after being ousted, in contrast to the 30 years Naguib managed.

Morsi was of course held in much harsher conditions than Mohammed Naguib, in solitary confinement without adequate medical care

Following his overthrow, the Egyptian state tried to erase Naguib from the public record. Today, in the age of the internet and social media, it is much more difficult to erase the memory of politicians and political events. Nevertheless, the Egyptian state has been doing its best to do so, issuing textbooks which vilify Morsi and gloss over the 2011 Egyptian revolution, while the Egyptian media barely mention Egypt's first democratically elected president, and when they do, leave out the fact that he was a president.

Today, Naguib's memory has been partially restored by the Egyptian state. A metro station and a large military base are named after him and he was posthumously granted the Order of the Nile in 2013.

By the time of Naguib's death in 1984, the Egyptian state was no longer afraid of his memory. It remains to be seen whether Morsi's memory will eventually be dignified in the same way, but it seems that the Egyptian state considered both men to be a threat, not so much for who they were, but for the hopes that they represented during their brief time in power.

Amr Salahiis a journalist at The New Arab.

Paramilitary wing

After Banna launched the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, branches were set up throughout the country - each running a mosque, a school and a sporting club - and its membership grew rapidly.

By the late 1940s, the group is estimated to have had 500,000 members in Egypt, and its ideas had spread across the Arab world.

At the same time, Banna created a paramilitary wing, the Special Apparatus, whose operatives joined the fight against British rule and engaged in a campaign of bombings and assassinations.

The Egyptian government dissolved the group in late 1948 for attacking British and Jewish interests. Soon afterwards, the group was accused of assassinating Prime Minister Mahmoud al-Nuqrashi.

Banna denounced the killing, but he was subsequently shot dead by an unknown gunman - believed to have been a member of the security forces.

In 1952, colonial rule came to an end following a military coup dɾtat led by a group of young officers calling themselves the Free Officers.

The Ikhwan played a supporting role - Anwar al-Sadat, who became president in 1970, was once the Free Officers' liaison with them - and initially co-operated with the new government, but relations soon soured.

After a failed attempt to assassinate President Gamal Abdul Nasser in 1954, the Ikhwan were blamed, banned, and thousands of members imprisoned and tortured. The group continued, however, to grow underground.

This clash with the authorities prompted an important shift in the ideology of the Ikhwan, evident in the writing of one prominent member, Sayyid Qutb.

Qutb's work advocated the use of jihad (struggle) against jahili (ignorant) societies, both Western and so-called Islamic ones, which he argued were in need of radical transformation.

His writings - particularly the 1964 work Milestones - inspired the founders of many radical Islamist groups, including Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda.

In 1965, the government again cracked down on the Ikhwan, executing Qutb in 1966 and transforming him into a martyr for many people across the region.

Mohamed Morsi: A Postscript

The deposed Egyptian president’s legacy is complicated, and his death cruel. He “always underestimated the animosity of the military,” says the former U.S. ambassador.

Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, July 2, 2012.

As reports surfaced on Monday that former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had collapsed in a courtroom and was dead on arrival at a nearby hospital, the Egyptian state tried to erase Morsi’s complicated legacy. His death at age 67 was the result of state-directed repression, and just remembering him poses a threat to the current government in Cairo.

The state-run newspaper Al-Ahram called him by his full given name, Mohamed Morsi El-Ayyat, in a 41-word obituary that read as if an ordinary man had died of natural causes, not that a past head of state had succumbed after speaking in court. It was jarring to see the flagship state paper, which had chronicled his daily acts as president, write him off entirely. An Egyptian news anchor accidentally read out “sent by a Samsung device” after delivering a teleprompter news brief, suggesting that it had been copied from a senior official’s text message—quite literally following the state’s script.

“Morsi always underestimated the animosity of the military, the private sector, and some of Egypt's neighbors,” Anne Patterson, who served as U.S. ambassador to Egypt from 2011 to 2013, told me. “If he had been a more competent and sophisticated leader, he might have been able to handle them more effectively. But now the Islamic movement is discredited the Brotherhood weakened if not destroyed and the most repressive government in Egypt's history in power for the foreseeable future.”

It is worth remembering that 13.2 million Egyptian voters elected the Muslim Brotherhood politician in a protest vote in June 2012. He triumphed in a runoff against Ahmed Shafik, ousted President Hosni Mubarak's final prime minister, in what was mainly a referendum on the ancien régime. In theory, Morsi’s year in office represented a rupture with the past: He was the first non-military man to take the reins of the country since the fall of the monarchy in 1952. But he died as one of the tens of thousands of Egyptians currently being held in squalid conditions behind bars and without a fair trial.

“So many players did not want to change the status quo. It was basically an uphill battle for everybody,” says Khaled Al-Qazzaz, a former Morsi aide who attended his meetings with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, and Vladimir Putin.

As president, Morsi failed to rally the nation around a reckoning with the Mubarak regime's crimes against the Egyptian people. He also failed to re-institute law and order. These two failures added up to something greater: He did not reform the old systems in a way that would ensure social justice, which had been a rallying cry of the Tahrir Square protesters. Nor did his economic policies stem skyrocketing inflation or poverty (he went through three finance ministers in a single year). On the security front, terrorist attacks in the Sinai escalated.

The problem wasn't just that Morsi was an Islamist with a limited commitment to democratic values and freedoms it was also that he didn’t know what he was doing. He had been a third- or fourth-choice candidate after more prominent Muslim Brothers were disqualified, and after the Brotherhood had waffled for a full year about whether even to field a candidate in the first presidential balloting after the 2011 revolution. His affiliation with the Brotherhood—the shadowy group which was deemed illegal for decades but that, in the context of a political opening squired by President Hosni Mubarak in the mid-2000s, began fielding candidates as independents—would always make him suspect in the eyes of many Egyptians. His only qualification for leading the country was that he was a good bureaucrat. The highest praise of Morsi in his previous life in parliament was that he had been “a competent manager.”

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But even had he been charismatic and visionary, Morsi's task of helming a country that had been run by various forms of military dictatorship for decades may have been doomed from the start. As a transitional figure, he was handed a stacked deck. And when he tried in August 2012 to wrest powers from the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which retained authority over the Defense Ministry and other key institutions, by ousting the defense minister, his appointment as the new minister was General Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, the very individual who would stage a coup against him.

From 2012 to 2013, Cairo was a city of weekly demonstrations that frequently turned violent, giving the feeling that Morsi wasn't in control of the police and military. Protests were so intense that the entirety of the Suez Canal region (three governorates including large cities like Port Said and Ismailia) was temporarily put under martial law.

Morsi himself was hardly a democrat and his administration used a flawed referendum to push through a constitution that had illiberal elements: Freedom of religion was reserved for monotheistic faiths only, there were few protections for economic rights, and women’s rights were not inscribed therein.

Meanwhile, his team encouraged lawsuits against writers, artists, and critics—mobilizing Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi attorneys to sue secular, opposition voices. In response, mockery of Morsi was unprecedented, even though a law against insulting the president was still on the books. Satirists flouted the regulation anyway. Counterintuitively, Egyptian satirical life flourished about—and under—his incompetence.

Egyptian protesters shout anti-Muslim Brotherhood slogans as they hold posters depicting Morsi during a protest in Tahrir Square in Cairo, June 28, 2013.

MORSI WAS PEDANTIC. When he took the oath of office at Cairo University in the summer of 2012, he began by apologizing to the student body for causing a postponement of their exams. He was a professor, not a militant, but in his speech he also paid tribute to the Egyptians who had lost their lives in the 2011 revolution:

Ladies and gentlemen, the Egyptian people have made great accomplishments through the sacrifices of the honorable martyrs, great achievements we will safeguard and never relinquish, because the people suffered so much for so long, with hundreds of innocent lives lost and thousands of citizens maimed and wounded.

He went on to discuss the role he saw Egypt playing in the world, its support for the Palestinian cause, and the urgency of passing a new constitution. Morsi failed on each and every one of those issues, and in so doing sealed his fate.

About a year later, Cairo intellectuals led the first protests against Morsi's functionary in the Ministry of Culture, foreshadowing a countrywide revolt against the president in the long, hot summer of 2013. By the end of June, demonstrators under the banner “Rebel” gathered in Tahrir Square and in other public spaces across the nation, with millions taking to the streets and elements of the deep state reportedly encouraging further demonstrations. Morsi in turn isolated himself within a circle of advisers who, like him, didn't know what they were doing.

As Morsi's first year in office came to a close, the Armed Forces issued an ultimatum for him to step down. Morsi tried to reassert his legitimacy in two rambling speeches. “If the price for safeguarding legitimacy is my blood, then I am prepared to sacrifice my blood for the cause of safety and legitimacy of this homeland,” said Morsi in his final speech as president. His uncaptivating, almost hysterical remarks failed to rally the nation around him.

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The military arrested Morsi on July 3, 2013. Khaled El-Qazzaz, who now lives in Toronto after himself spending a year in Tora Prison, told me that prior to his arrest, Morsi had been in constant negotiations with the Armed Forces: “He refused to leave his post until the last moment.”

Morsi was initially held in an undisclosed location, later to be revealed as Burj Al-Arab Prison outside Alexandria. He was later moved to the notorious Scorpion wing of Tora Prison, where he spent his final years. “Stories of torture and mistreatment were legendary here,” writes former Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, of visiting Morsi’s colleague Khairat El-Shater in Scorpion in August 2013, “and you could feel the grimness of the place as we walked down the several dimly lit and foul-smelling corridors toward the warden’s office.”

While El-Sisi consolidated power, anti-coup demonstrations grew across the nation, posing a Tiananmen-sized conundrum for the military. Days later, on August 14, Egyptian authorities killed over 1,150 protesters, many of whom were pro-Morsi activists and Muslim Brotherhood supporters, in five different encampments. Since then, President El-Sisi, who replaced Morsi after his arrest, has used every measure—legal and extralegal—to disband the Muslim Brotherhood.

The El-Sisi government also began calling Morsi and his colleagues terrorists. By December 2013, the interim military government had designated the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist entity, stripping its members of basic rights and, in the process, dehumanizing them. News channels in Egypt faithfully replicated this narrative.

Morsi's death was the grim consequence of these acts of dehumanization. The Egyptian state had not ensured that he had been provided adequate food, medicine, and health care. He had been held in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day for six years. The State Department's most recent Human Rights Report noted that Morsi's family “stated he remained in solitary confinement and denied medical treatment for his diabetes, resulting in impaired vision in one eye, among other complications.” He had only been allowed three meetings with his family over this period.

Morsi gestures in a defendants cage at the Police Academy courthouse in Cairo, 2015.

MORSI CLOSED HIS first remarks as president by saying, “I reiterate that the blood of the martyrs and the hundreds of wounded, maimed and injured are a huge responsibility that I proudly carry on my shoulders until I exact just retribution for them.” This week many onetime supporters, including the former head of the Tunisian Ennahdha movement, Rachid Ghannouchi, have described Morsi himself as a martyr.

But with the Trump administration's help, the Egyptian government may be able to let him fade into the nameless masses of other dead.

“The United States is aware that the Government of Egypt is investigating the death of former President Morsi,” a State Department spokesperson wrote by email. “We are aware of the concerns regarding his death, and refer you to the Government of Egypt for further details regarding the investigation.”

That's a postmortem that is likely to be as reliable as Saudi Arabia's investigation into Jamal Khashoggi's murder.


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