Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been sentenced to death and the international community is not happy. The Egyptian government, too, is unhappy that the world is not too pleased with its mass death sentences.
Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, along with more than 100 other people, were sentenced to death on May 16, 2015, for collaborating with foreign militants to free Islamists during a prison break from the Wadi Natroun prison amid the Egyptian revolution in January 2011. Among his 105 co-defendants were some 70 Palestinians, accused of being members of Hamas, who were charged and tried in absentia. And among the Palestinians sentenced to death, Hassan Salameh has been in an Israeli prison since 1994, and Raed Attar is already dead.
The former president, a top Muslim Brotherhood member, is already serving a 20-year sentence for ordering the arrest and torture of protesters while in power.
Morsi was the president of Egypt for one year after the revolution, which overthrew Hosni Mubarak early 2011, who ruled Egypt for more than 30 years. Morsi's reign was cut short in July 2013, following massive protests calling for his ouster. Then, the Egyptian Army took command, under the leadership of Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces and Minister of Defence General Abdul Fattah El Sisi, who is now Egypt's president.
Since being deposed of power, Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement was banned in Egypt, and thousands of its supporters arrested.
Head of Egyptian Revolutionary Council (ERC) Dr Maha Azzam called on the international community to act in an article on Ikhwan Web:
democratic governments have failed the people of Egypt by supporting a military regime that kills its own people and now has passed a death sentence against the first democratically elected President of Egypt in a farcical trial that has no legitimacy.
She claims that torture and rape has become a pattern since the military, headed by Al Sisi, took power. Over 40,000 political activists remain in Egyptian prisons today. Several thousand protestors have been killed.
Mohamed Soudan, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled Egypt and moved to the United Kingdom after Morsi's overthrow, told Al Jazeera:
They're insisting on issuing these verdicts against anyone who participated in the January 25 Revolution … all of the verdicts fail to meet international standards of law … they are farcical and will be dismissed as a failing of the coup.
Turkey, also emerged as a primary supporter of Morsi, condemning the verdict and echoing the ERC in urging the international community to speak up. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the silence of the international community over the court's decision, asking the West to take a stance on capital punishment as pioneers in abolishing the sentence. Erdogan labeled the verdict by Egyptian court as “capital punishment against the ballot box.”
The Turkish government is for once backed by the Turkish people in their position, creating a Twitter buzz of mass support for Morsi. People started their own Turkish hashtag to support Morsi #MursiYalnızDeğildir — Morsi You Are Not Alone — which was trending number one in Turkey and third worldwide the day of the sentencing.
The “Rabaa” hand sign with four fingers refers to Rabaa Al Adawiya mosque, the site of a violent confrontation between Morsi’s followers and the Egyptian army. On August 14, 2013, Egyptian security forces opened fire at a sit-in protest in Rabaa Al Adawiya Square, killing more than 800 people opposed to the ousting of Morsi.
— Oğuz Kaya (@oguz__kaya) May 16, 2015
Pakistan joined Turkey in raising the “Rabaa” sign in support of Morsi:
— Ahmad Shaheen (@AhmadShaheen) May 16, 2015
Contrary to the ERC and Turkey's claims that the international community is silent, there has been public statements of condemnation around Morsi's verdict.
Amnesty International condemned the sentences saying the verdict followed ‘charade trials’.
Boumedouha, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa program, said in a statement released by the organization:
His trials were undermined even before he set foot in the courtroom. The fact that he was held for months incommunicado without judicial oversight and that he didn’t have a lawyer to represent him during the investigations makes these trials nothing but a charade based on null and void procedures.
The US, UN, UK and EU speak up
The international community agreed that the latest verdict and mass death sentences are not consistent with Egypt's obligations under international law.
The United States has expressed alarm and condemned the death penalty. A State Department spokesperson said:
We have consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences, which are conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with Egypt’s international obligations and the rule of law.
Britain's Minister for the Middle East and North Africa Tobias Ellwood said in a statement:
The UK government is deeply concerned by the sentencing to death of former President Morsi and over 100 others yesterday. We note that there are further stages in the legal process, and will continue to follow this case closely.
However, the government of Egypt sees otherwise. According to a statement issued by the Egyptian Ministry of Justice “comments by foreign countries concerning the judiciary decision has violated all international conventions which respect sovereignty and non-interference in the internal affairs of another country.”
Twitter craze over Morsi
Some even used revolutionary icon Che Guevara's quotes to describe the injustice:
— Muhammad ajmal (@AjmalllCh) May 18, 2015
People are criticizing the justice system in Egypt:
— Adriaan Hofstra © (@adhofstra) May 19, 2015
— Badr Sellak (@BadrSellak) May 18, 2015
RT shahzad2404: A death sentences over a prison break is plain absurd. It is not near to anything called justice! #WeStandWithMorsi
— Tuna RT Bot (@tunartbot) May 16, 2015
Others are slamming current President Sisi:
— deryabeyaz (@goodnightmoond) May 16, 2015
Morsi faces a separate trial with nine others on charges of endangering national security by leaking confidential and sensitive information to Qatar. He is also facing another trial with 24 others for insulting the judiciary. The first hearing is scheduled for May 23, 2015.
Saturday's case has been referred to the Grand Mufti, the country's top religious scholar, for review. A final hearing is scheduled for June 2.