Mohamed Morsi, the overthrown Egyptian President, remain in custody despite calls from the rest of the world to set him free. On Friday, An attorney officially ordered his detention, as a result of accusations over his acquaintance with Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement of which Morsi is a prominent member. The announcement was made while fights were reported on the streets of Cairo between a group of Morsi’s supporters and a mob opposed to him, called by the military chief Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi. Gen. el-Sisi called the pro-Morsi demonstrators “terrorist”.
Clashes broke out as a pro-Morsi crowd was chanting, during a sit-in, to protest against gen. Sisi near the mosque of Rabaa Adawiya. “Sisi out! Morsi is President! Down with the army!” was the chant. Investigations are still being made but 11 people were counted as injured from both the pro-Morsi demonstrators and Sisi’s backers. Morsi supporters are asking that their leader be freed as he has been in custody since July 3 when he was overthrown. Their request will not be answered, however, since an attorney has officially accused Morsi, on Friday, over his connections with Hamas.
Egyptian court sources said that Morsi is accused of colluding with the Palestinian group to storm police stations and jails, “setting fire to one prison and enabling inmates to flee, including himself, as well as premeditated killing of officers, soldiers and prisoners” in 2011, during the uprising against former President Hosni Mubarak.
The term used in the accusation is “suspicion of conspiracy with Hamas”. Hamas rules the Gaza Strip and has strong links with Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.
This accusation against Morsi seems to be a strong reason for keeping him in detention despite international calls. President Barack Obama and the United Nations General Secretary, Ban Ki-Moon joined their voices to those are asking Morsi to be freed. Reacting to the accusations, a spokesman from the Muslim Brotherhood, Gehad el-Haddad, called it “ridiculous”, according to Reuters. El-Haddad said the detention order marked the return of the old regime. Hamas also reacted to Morsi’s detention. Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said the Palestinian movement condemns this move since it is based on the Premise that Hamas is a hostile movement.
“This is a dangerous development, which confirms that the current powers in Egypt are giving up on national causes and even using these issues to deal with other parties – first among them the Palestinian cause,” Zuhri told AFP.
The Egyptian MENA news agency said Morsi’s detention can be extended as the inquiry continues. MENA indicated that Morsi has already been interrogated.
With Morsi to in detention and the Muslim Brotherhood considered as “terrorist”, it seems that the current Egyptian government and military have set strategies to get rid of this branch of Islamists representing a threat against them. The Muslim Brotherhood keeps rejecting the government and calling it a military coup against democracy. For them, the only constitution that counts for Egyptians is the one the Egyptian people voted for and that was suspended by the new government that has called for a new constituent to be drawn up.
The protest called by the military chief Gen. Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi on the Cairo streets is also seen like an attempt to divide Islamists. el-Sissi called upon the Egyptian people, including Islamists, to support him to fight “terrorist”. He was seeking a show of popular support for his anticipated crackdown on Morsi’s supporters and radical Islamists loyal to the ousted leader who have been attacking security forces in the strategic Sinai Peninsula, but fears of violence were high as past demonstrations have led to fierce clashes between the groups. Nearly 200 people have been killed in the latest crisis – mostly Morsi supporters.
With the Muslim Brotherhood gagged and the former President in detention, it is unclear how the new Egyptian will move forward in peace. What is clear is that the Muslim Brotherhood will not accept having to remain silent. It is almost certain that unrest will worsen in Egypt.
Sources: AFP, the Associated Press, MENA, The Times of India, Reuters and Zee News.