British lawyers seek arrest warrant for Egypt’s president over Morsi death

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Action ahead of expected two-day visit to UK by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on Monday follows instructions from the Egyptian Revolutionary Council.

A legal chambers in the UK has filed a criminal complaint with London police requesting an investigation be opened into allegations of torture and murder over the death of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, and that an arrest warrant be issued against Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.

Saturday’s request, following instructions from the Egyptian Revolutionary Council (ERC), comes ahead of an expected two-day visit by Sisi to the UK on Monday.

Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers requested that London’s Metropolitan Police Service Counter Terrorism Command (SO15) commence the probe into what it called “credible allegations of torture made against the Egyptian Government and its State organs”.

In November, UN independent experts said the detention conditions of Morsi, who had been imprisoned since 2013, may have directly led to his death in a Cairo courtroom on 17 June last year.

A panel of UN experts – including Agnes Callamard, special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions – and the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded that Morsi was held under “brutal” conditions.

“Dr Morsi was held in conditions that can only be described as brutal, particularly during his five-year detention in the Tora prison complex,” the experts wrote.

“Dr Morsi’s death after enduring those conditions could amount to a state-sanctioned arbitrary killing.”

Egyptian state television announced that Morsi had collapsed during the court hearing on espionage charges, and later died suddenly, reportedly of a heart attack.

‘Inconceivable Sisi unaware’
In its statement on Saturday, Guernica 37 said: “In particular, the complaint will request that the death of… Morsi, and the treatment suffered prior to his death, which constitutes torture, be investigated.”

It pointed out that the matter of Morsi’s death had already been taken to Callamard and that “the United Kingdom cannot be seen as a safe haven for those who consider themselves immune from prosecution”.

Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, was overthrown by Sisi in a coup in 2013.

Guernica 37 said: “It is inconceivable to consider that Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was unaware of the torture of Dr Morsi, his very appointment being the direct result of the ousting of the first democratically elected president.

“It is no mere assumption that the treatment of Dr Morsi contributed to his death and there is a compelling argument that it was his treatment at the hands of the Military Regime that killed him and that this was the intention.

“The ongoing impunity for his death cannot be allowed to continue, and where there is opportunity to investigate and prosecute, it must be taken.”

The ERC, which initiated the action against Sisi, is a political organisation founded in 2014 in resistance to Sisi’s coup.

‘Brutal dictator’
In an editorial on Friday regarding Sisi’s expected visit to the UK, the Times of London wrote: “The anticipated arrival in London next week of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to participate in the government’s UK-Africa summit will rightly stick in many people’s craw.

“Since seizing power from his country’s first democratically elected government in a 2013 coup, the Egyptian president has proved himself to be a particularly brutal dictator even by the standards of Egypt’s unfortunate history.

“If and when Mr [UK Prime Minister Boris] Johnson meets President Sisi next week, he should not be pusillanimous.

“He should call out Egypt’s human rights abuses in the clearest possible terms.”

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