British lawyers seek arrest warrant for Egyptian president over predecessor's death in jail
CAIRO - A group of British lawyers wants London police to issue an arrest warrant against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah, over the death of Mohamed Morsi.
Mr. Fattah, who seized power in 2013 throw a coup, is expected in London, Monday where he will be attending the UK-Africa summit.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is hosting the summit, in which he's expected to discuss his overall policy for Africa, Daily Mirror said.
And on Saturday, Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers moved to court for the arrest warrant, citing numerous accusations against the Egyptian regime.
Group wants Fattah arrested
The group requested police to commence the probe into what it called "credible allegations of torture made against the Egyptian Government and its State organs".
By Monday morning, authorities in London had not issued the warrant of arrest. Most African leaders arrived in London as early as Sunday.
It won't be the first time an African leader will be issued with a warrant of arrest should London police decide to act swiftly though.
About eight years ago, disposed Sudanese leader Omar Al-Bashir was flagged off by International Criminal Court over Darfur genocide.
Morsi's controversial death
Morsi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt, died in prison last year, although the state claimed "he suffered from cardiac arrest".
Frail and weak, Morsi had appeared in court to fight among others, terrorism charges. He was the leader of the banned Muslim Brotherhood.
A report by UN Panel of Experts implicated Fattah's administration for Morsi's death, a move that complicates Egypt's human rights record.
“Morsi was held in conditions that can only be described as brutal, particularly during his five-year detention in the Tora prison complex,” the experts wrote.
Further, they added: “Morsi’s death after enduring those conditions could amount to state-sanctioned arbitrary killing."
Egyptian state television announced that Morsi had collapsed during the court hearing on espionage charges, and later died suddenly, reportedly of a heart attack.
Egyptian administration put on notice
Egyptian administration has been also grossly implicated for suppression of the opposition and those perceived as critics of the government.
But the British lawyers' anchored their complaint on Morsi's death, citing mistreatment he was subjected to prior to his death.
In its statement on Saturday, Guernica 37 said: "In particular, the complaint will request that the death of... Morsi, and the treatment suffered prior to his death, which constitutes torture, be investigated."
It pointed out that the matter of Morsi's death had already been taken to Callamard and that "the United Kingdom cannot be seen as a safe haven for those who consider themselves immune from prosecution".
While the regime in Cairo is largely military-controlled, the international community has rarely called it out for torture of critics.
Ironically, Fattah is the outgoing African Union chair, an organization that had been accused in the past of protecting impunity and cartels.
British media supports lawyers
And the British media has not spared Dawning Street either, with the Sun tabloid calling for Fattah's immediate arrest and prosecution.
"If and when Mr [UK Prime Minister Boris] Johnson meets President Sisi next week, he should not be pusillanimous."
"He should call out Egypt’s human rights abuses in the clearest possible terms," the paper added in an editorial piece.
Western powers have often tolerated impunity in Africa, always pushing to safeguard their interests in the pretext of democracy, Prof Harman Manyora observes.
Some like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Paul Bia of Cameroon among others, have been celebrated by the West despite proven atrocities against their opponents.