Egypt: Morsi in solitary confinement
Authorities moved Egypt’s ousted president from a hospital room to solitary confinement in a massive prison complex Thursday, a security official said, as his son claimed officials denied a family visitation request after lawyers delivered a message from the leader.
The transfer of Mohammed Mursi came 10 days after he was placed temporarily in a hospital room at Borg al-Arab prison, near the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.
Authorities hospitalized Mursi, 62, after he complained of high blood pressure and high blood sugar following his first court appearance on Nov. 4. The toppled president faces charges of inciting violence and murder in connection to the killing of protesters outside of the presidential palace in December.
The official said moving Mursi was expected and that the overthrown president won’t receive any special treatment in solitary confinement. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to journalists.
Egypt’s military ousted Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood-backed government in a popular supported coup July 3. The military held Mursi in an undisclosed location before his court appearance, blocking his family from meeting him. They since have visited him at Borg al-Arab prison.
Osama Mursi, one of Mursi’s son and a lawyer, told Qatar-based satellite news network al-Jazeera Mubashir Misr on Thursday that authorities turned down a request by his mother to again visit Mursi in prison. He said authorities are punishing his father over lawyers reading a smuggled statement from him at a televised news conference accusing the country’s military chief of treason.
Mursi’s statement sought to rally his supporters, who continue to hold scattered protests after a heavy security crackdown saw top Muslim Brotherhood leaders and rank-and-file members arrested. It also sought to challenge authorities as the Egyptian public grows increasingly disenchanted with Islamists.
A Brotherhood-led coalition has called for demonstrations Friday after prayers. Such protests have been going on for weeks, but it comes on the first Friday that there won’t be a military-enforced 7 p.m. curfew over much of the country.
Thursday marked the expiration of a three-month state of emergency in Egypt and the nightly curfew. Authorities imposed it after security forces backed by bulldozers, snipers and armored vehicles forcefully dispersed two pro-Mursi protest camps Aug. 14, leaving more than 600 people dead and sparking days of unrest.
Egypt has been in turmoil since the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak following an uprising in 2011.