Amid Human Rights Concerns, Egypt’s Crackdown On Muslim Brotherhood Continues
Morsi’s younger son has been detained because of his alleged support for the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt
Egyptian police released the 25-year-old son of former president Mohammed Morsi Wednesday after he spent less than 24 hours in detention on charges of joining an outlawed organization and publishing “fake news.”
Abdullah Morsi Mohammed Morsi, a graduate business student, posted a bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds [about $280] according to a statement by Attorney General Nabil Sadek.
“The Attorney General decided to release Abdullah until further investigations take place into the charges against him,” said Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, a member of Morsi’s defense team.
Abdullah frequently posts updates on social media about his father’s condition at the Tora maximum security prison, about eight miles south of downtown Cairo, as the family seeks more visitation rights and better health care for the jailed Brotherhood leader.
The London-based Arabi21 website published an interview with Abdullah just days before his arrest detailing the conditions of the family’s September visit at the prison.
Morsi is challenging a death sentence and 48 years in jail for five separate cases including espionage for Hamas, Hezbollah and Qatar as well as insulting Egypt’s judiciary.
The charge of joining a terrorist group refers to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in 2013. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, an Egyptian general who then became president, led a coalition to remove the elder Morsi from the presidential palace.
Egypt has been plagued by a violent insurgency since Sisi replaced Morsi. Egyptian officials have viewed the terrorist wave as part of a revenge campaign for the Brotherhood’s ousting.
Since 2013, the Egyptian army has also waged a fierce counter-terrorism operation against a Sinai-based Islamic State-affiliated group. It has seen an upsurge in attacks on the Coptic Christian community, as well as security personnel and senior officials in the Nile Valley. Last month, Sisi emphasized the need for a “global war” against terrorism during his address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
“There is no doubt that the Arab region is one of the most vulnerable to the dangers of nation-state disintegration, and the ensuing creation of a fertile environment for terrorism and exacerbation of sectarian conflicts,” Sisi declared at the UN.
Cairo has been working to contain Islamists throughout Egypt, making no distinction between their political and armed wings.
“Anyone who has anything to do with the Islamic movement can expect to be questioned and other times detained based on their activity within the movement,” an Egyptian political observer close to the Sisi administration told The Media Line.
“Mohammed Morsi supported and promoted the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and beyond—especially in Syria by urging Muslims join a jihad against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Sisi ended that and is cleaning up the mess caused by Islamist political groups in Egypt,” the analyst added.
Ibrahim Haj Ibrahim, who heads the Political Science department at Birzeit University in Ramallah, believes the anti-terror rhetoric in Cairo is a core component of a Saudi-led effort, which includes Egypt and the UAE, to gain support for the ongoing boycott of Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief state backer in the region.
“Saudi Arabia doesn’t want any other regional power, but itself,” Ibrahim told The Media Line. “Riyadh is doing the best it can to put the Muslim Brotherhood in the category of terrorism.”