World Bulletin / News Desk
Experts have criticized the reactions of Western countries, including the U.S. over the Egyptian military-led regime’s handing down of death sentences to Egypt's first democratically-elected president Mohammed Morsi and other leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood.
John Esposito, an American professor of international affairs and Islamic studies at the Georgetown University in Washington D.C., told Anadolu Agency that the institution of democracy itself had become non-existent in Egypt under the current Egyptian President, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.
"Egypt is not on the path to democracy. There is no democracy or desire for democracy under el-Sisi in Egypt today," Esposito said.
He highlighted that violence under el-Sisi's rule had become greater than any other previous government in modern Egyptian history. "With the collusion of Mubarak era-appointed judges, Egypt has witnessed pro forma, show trials that have resulted in mass trials [and] mass death sentences," he said.
Emad el-Din Shahin, a visiting professor at Georgetown University, also slammed Egypt's judicial system.
"It has become a tool in the hands of a repressive military regime to eliminate political opponents. It is highly politicized and exhibits a complete disregard for the rule of law and due process," Shahin, who was one of the people referred in Egypt for allegedly being part of Muslim Brotherhood, told Anadolu Agency.
He urged the international community to "not reward the el-Sisi regime".
While the White House has expressed that it is "deeply troubled" by the outcome of the Morsi trial, experts say Washington could, if it wanted, put its weight on Cairo and prevent the el-Sisi regime from wiping out the Muslim Brotherhood from the political sphere.
Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney-general, told Anadolu Agency that Washington was instead showing a "lack of influence on Egypt".
"There should be no support for dictators, this is what a democratic country must show," Clark said.
But, instead of imposing sanctions on Cairo, Washington lifted a hold on military assistance to Egypt, which was placed in 2013 because of the el-Sisi regime's violent crackdowns on the opposition that killed many pro-democracy supporters.
U.S. president Barack Obama too approved the delivery of a dozen F-16 aircraft to Egypt and pledged to request from the U.S. Congress $1.3 billion in annual military assistance for Egypt. Also, apart from the U.S., some European countries, including Germany have received el-Sisi with open arms during his recent visits abroad, signing contracts worth billions of dollars despite the regime's appalling human rights records.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is one of the very few world leaders who has taken a bold stance over the Morsi issue. Almost immediately after the Morsi death sentence, Erdogan had urged the international community to “take action” in order “to put an end to this course that can seriously endanger social order in Egypt, and to revoke the death sentences given on the instructions of the coup administration”.
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have also slammed the Morsi verdict. “This appalling outcome is sadly not surprising. It’s just another symptom of how horrendously broken Egypt’s justice system has become,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, deputy director of Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme, said.
On Tuesday, Morsi was sentenced on charges of espionage and a mass jailbreak incident in 2011 during demonstrations that ousted the then Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak. Apart from the death penalty, he was also given a life sentence.
The Egyptian court had also sentenced five Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including the group’s head, Mohamed Badie, to death for participating in the jailbreak.
Ninety-four other co-defendants were also sentenced to the gallows, in absentia, on similar charges, including prominent Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi.
Morsi, Egypt's first-ever democratically elected president, was ousted by the military in a 2013 coup – after only one year in office – following protests against his presidency.
Since Morsi's ouster, Egyptian authorities have launched a relentless crackdown on dissent that has largely targeted Morsi supporters, leaving hundreds dead and thousands behind bars.
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