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Egypt’s Morsi faces premature death due to harsh jail conditions: Report

Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi sits inside a defendants cage at a court in the capital city of Cairo on April 23, 2016. (Photo by AP)

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is likely to face “premature death” in prison, where he is being held in low-standard conditions and is subjected to “cruel” and “inhuman” treatment, a panel of UK legislators and attorneys says.

Morsi is “receiving inadequate medical care, particularly inadequate management of his diabetes, and inadequate management of his liver disease,” the Detention Review Panel (DRP), commissioned by Morsi’s family, said in a report released on Wednesday.

The treatment of Morsi has been “cruel, inhuman and degrading,” said the report. “The consequence of this inadequate care is likely to be rapid deterioration of his long-term conditions, which is likely to lead to premature death,” it added.

The panel warned that, based on the standards defined by both the Egyptian and international law, Morsi’s detention conditions verge on torture, adding that President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi “could, in principle, be responsible for the crime of torture.”

The information about Morsi’s detention has been obtained from several sources, including testimony from his son as well as medical professionals informed of the situation, the DRP said.

The panel said it had initially requested to visit Morsi to assess his detention conditions, but the Egyptian government did not respond to the request.

According to the DRP report, the former Egyptian leader has been held in solitary confinement for about three years at the infamous Tora Prison, also known as Scorpion Prison.

Morsi, 67, was Egypt’s first democratically-elected president after the 2011 revolution, but he was deposed following a military coup led by Sisi in July 2013. Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood organization, which Morsi belonged to, has since been outlawed.

He has been serving a 20-year prison term on charges of ordering the arrest and torture of protesters, a 25-year jail term on charges of passing intelligence to Qatar and a three-year term for insulting the judiciary.

Sisi on way to victory again

The report comes as Egypt on Wednesday wrapped up a highly-contentious presidential election, with incumbent Sisi almost certain to glide to victory after his military-backed administration either jailed or scared off all serious contenders.

Preliminary results showed on Thursday that Sisi is leading the presidential race with 21.5 million votes, state-owned newspaper Akhbarelyoum reported.

The final results of the Monday vote are expected to be released on April 2.

Sisi’s sole challenger in the vote was Moussa Mostafa Moussa, a vocal supporter of the army-chief-turned-president.

Many observers view Moussa as a “puppet” whose bid is merely meant to lend color to the “show,” and prevent the presidential election from becoming a one-man race or a referendum on Sisi’s rule.

Sisi’s first term saw a heavy-handed crackdown on opposition members and supporters of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Rights groups say the army’s crackdown on Morsi's supporters has resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 people. About 22,000 others have been arrested, including some 200 people who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.

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