Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Former Egyptian President Morsi sentenced to 20 years in prison

Mohammad Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president after the Arab Spring toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak, was sentenced to 20 years in prison today. Morsi was a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood political party, which was founded in Egypt but has spread to other Muslim countries.

The official reason for the trial and subsequent imprisonment was the use of force by members of the Muslim Brotherhood during protests a year after he took power. However, given that the military, which conducted the trials against Morsi, came to power soon after the protests, it is more likely that the new leaders are just trying to clean up after their coup. Amnesty International has said that the trial was a "sham."

This trial was part of a larger smear campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood. A high level leader of the Brotherhood, Mohammad Badie, received the death sentence in his trials, and the entire organization has been labeled a terrorist organization by the military led government. Additionally, while pursuing charges against Morsi, the military government dropped charges against Mubarak. This demonstrates a total lack of equal application of the law.

I'm not saying that Morsi is a saint or the the Muslim Brotherhood is a perfect organization. However, if Egypt is to ever have a dialogue about the balance of power and the role of religion in government, they must have a civilian government, not a military regime.

What do you think of the sentence against Morsi and the actions taken against the Muslim Brotherhood?
What should the US do or say in response, if anything? What about the larger international community?
Does this signal the end of the Arab Spring?


Alex Medwid said...

On one hand, the use of show trials and jail sentences is wrong, but on the other hand it's good they did not execute him, as it's fairly common to execute or assassinate the previous leader in a coup.

The US and the UN have a responsibility to pressure Egypt's military leadership to release Morsi. This sort of political imprisonment is not acceptable and any modern state has a responsibility to fight against it.

Depending on its definition, the Arab Spring has been over for a long time. During the early times of the Arab Spring, Americans thought that the revolutions would bring an end to the autocratic, oligarchic, and theocratic governments in the Middle East. However, the political situation in the Middle East was never simple enough to fit a narrative of "democracy for everyone".

CleoWienbar7 said...

Alex, I agree with your point that the international community should pressure the Egyptian government to stop prosecuting members of the Muslim Brotherhood.
I'm intrigued by your statement that the Middle East could never have a simple democratic narrative. What steps do you think the people of the Middle East or the international community would have to take in order for there to be a sustained peace or free civil society?