President Mohamed Morsi in 2011. Photo: Flickr/European External Action Service President Mohamed Morsi in 2011. Photo: Flickr/European External Action Service

The Tory government should cut off relations with the rogue state that is modern Egypt, argues John Rees

The death of Mohamed Morsi in a Cairo court room today shows beyond all doubt that the current regime in Egypt is a lawless, mafia gang.

It has long been known that the deposed first democratically elected president in Egyptian history was being held in conditions that endangered his life.

Morsi has been held in the notorious Scorpion section of Cairo’s maximum security Tora prison, and periodically brought to court on trumped up espionage charges since his overthrow by the Egyptian military in 2013.

In March last year a delegation of British parliamentarians, led by the Tory Crispin Blunt, reported that Morsi was being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day with only one hours exercise. They further reported that he was being denied proper medical treatment.

The Egyptian military led by the thug General Abdel Fattah El Sisi has the blood of thousands of Egyptian protesters on its hands from the time that it overthrew Morsi a year after he had been elected President in 2012.


The regime now has 60,000 oppositionists in jail, according to Human Rights Watch

There are a number of powerful lessons to be learnt from this whole tragic affair.

At the time of the military coup that overthrew Morsi many liberals and some on the left refused to defend a democratically elected president because they disagreed with the policies of the Muslim Brotherhood to which Morsi belonged.

Nothing could have been more shortsighted, or unprincipled. The counter revolution that El Sisi unleashed saw liberals and leftists, as well as many members of the Muslim Brotherhood, killed, tortured, and jailed.

Of course the Muslim Brotherhood made mistakes during their time in government, not least failing to break the power of Egypt’s deep state. Indeed, Morsi even promoted his nemesis El Sisi.

But however costly those mistakes eventually proved to be, at the point where the Egyptian revolution was facing catastrophic defeat every element of the revolutionary front should have mobilised in a united show of force that could have defeated the military.

Every ordinary Egyptian, and every element of the Egyptian revolution, has been paying a heavy price ever since that mistake was made.

Now Mohamed Morsi himself has paid with his life. His murderer is General El Sisi.


If this were any other state, say Iran or North Korea, the howling of the political establishment would be heard around the globe. Don’t expect that now.

Egypt is a loyal, second rank prop to imperial power in the Middle East, after Saudi Arabia and Israel.

If Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe had died of mistreatment in a court room the Iranian ambassador would be expelled, relations with Iran would be cut off, and more sanctions would be imposed.

The state sanctioned murder of a democratically elected president should surely count for as much. But it won’t because the Tories love a dictator, as long as the dictator’s policies work hand in glove with their own.

John Rees

John Rees is a writer, broadcaster and activist, and is one of the organisers of the People’s Assembly. His books include ‘The Algebra of Revolution’, ‘Imperialism and Resistance’, ‘Timelines, A Political History of the Modern World’, ‘The People Demand, A Short History of the Arab Revolutions’ (with Joseph Daher), ‘A People’s History of London’ (with Lindsey German) and The Leveller Revolution. He is co-founder of the Stop the War Coalition.

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