Egyptian Officials Threatened Morsi Days Before Death in Court


from The Anti Media:

Mohamed Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood leaders in prison in Egypt were given an ultimatum by top officials to disband the organisation or face the consequences, Middle East Eye has learned.

They had until the end of Ramadan to decide. Morsi refused and within days he was dead.

Brotherhood members inside and outside Egypt now fear for the lives of Khairat el Shater, a former presidential candidate, and Mohammed Badie, the supreme guide of the Brotherhood, both of whom refused the offer.

The demand to Morsi and Brotherhood leaders to close the organisation down was first outlined in a strategy document written by senior officials around President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi which was compiled shortly after his re-election last year.

Middle East Eye has been briefed about its contents by multiple Egyptian opposition sources, one of whom had sight of it and who spoke about it on condition of anonymity.

The sources told MEE they were aware of the document and the secret negotiations with Morsi before his sudden death in prison last Monday.

‘Closing the file of the Muslim Brotherhood’

Some details of the protracted contacts between Egyptian officials and Morsi over the last few months have been withheld for fear of endangering the lives of prisoners.

Entitled “Closing the file of the Muslim Brotherhood”, the government document argued that the Brotherhood had been delivered a blow by the military coup in 2013, which was unprecedented in its history and bigger than the crackdowns the Islamist organisation faced under former presidents Nasser and Mubarak.

The document argued that the Brotherhood had been fatally weakened and there was now no clear chain of command.

It stated that the Brotherhood could no longer be considered a threat to the state of Egypt, and that the main problem now was the number of prisoners in jail.

The number of political prisoners from all opposition factions, secular and Islamist, is estimated to be about 60,000.

The government document envisaged closing the organisation down within three years.

It offered freedom to members of the Brotherhood who guaranteed to take no further part in politics or “dawa”, the preaching and social activities of the movement.

Those who refused would be threatened with yet further harsh sentences and prison for life. The document thought that 75 percent of the rank and file would accept.

If they agreed to close the movement down the leadership would be offered better prison conditions.

Pressure on Morsi

Huge pressure was applied on Morsi himself, who was held in solitary confinement in an annex of Tora Farm Prison, and kept away from lawyers, family or any contact with fellow prisoners.

“The Egyptian government wanted to keep this negotiation as secret as possible. They did not want Morsi to confer with colleagues,” one person with knowledge of events inside the prison said.

As negotiations dragged on, Egyptian officials became increasingly frustrated with Morsi, and the senior Brotherhood leadership in prison.

Morsi refused to talk about closing down the Brotherhood because he said he was not its leader, and the Brotherhood leaders refused to talk about national issues such as Morsi renouncing his title as president of Egypt and referred the officials back to him.

The deposed president refused to recognise the coup or surrender his legitimacy as elected president of Egypt. On the issue of ending the Brotherhood, he said he was the president of all Egypt and would not compromise.

“This continued for some time. Efforts were intensified in Ramadan. The regime became frustrated and they made it clear to other leaders that unless they persuaded him to give up and negotiate by the end of Ramadan, the regime would take other actions. They did not specify which,” sources with knowledge of the events told MEE.

For this reason, the sources who spoke to MEE believe Morsi was killed and that the other Brotherhood leaders who refused the demand to disband the organisation are now in mortal danger.

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