Accessibility links

Morsi Family Accuses Egyptian Army of Abduction

  • Elizabeth Arrott

Osama Morsi, son of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, speaks during a press conference in Cairo, July 22, 2013.

Osama Morsi, son of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, speaks during a press conference in Cairo, July 22, 2013.

The family of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi accuses the nation's military of kidnapping him.

Morsi's daughter Shaimaa read out a statement by relatives of the detained leader, saying they are bringing Egyptian and international legal action against the military.

In the first remarks by the family since Morsi was detained July 3, Shaimaa Morsi named Armed Forces chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi as the leader of what they described as a "bloody military coup" and implicated other members of what they called his "putschist group." She added that she holds them responsible for his safety and security.

The military has been holding Morsi without charges in an undisclosed location. Officials say it is for his own protection.

Morsi's son, Osama, described his detention as an abduction. Several nations have called on the military to release him.

Opponents of the military's actions, which followed days of mass anti-Morsi rallies, continue to demonstrate across Egypt. Pro-Morsi protesters demand the reinstatement of the country's first freely-elected leader.

But any legal action is likely to be hard won.

Morsi deeply alienated the judiciary during his year in office, at one point putting himself above legal review when he temporarily seized extraordinary powers. In his final days in office, he gave a blistering attack on what he called corruption in the judiciary's ranks.

Amira Howeidy, deputy editor of state-owned al-Ahram Weekly, says the family should be aware the lawsuit will likely go nowhere. Rather, she said, it appears to be an attempt to draw attention to Morsi's “awkward” situation.

"There is no law that justifies this, even under the emergency law that we are very familiar with in Egypt," said Howeidy. "The military really ought to offer an explanation, press charges or liberate him.”

But Howeidy added Morsi's backers, in particular the Muslim Brotherhood, have shown little strategy beyond requests for his release.

"I only see that they are trying to exit with minimal damage and as many assurances as possible regarding Morsi, regarding the leadership that is in prison, as you know, six or seven Muslim Brotherhood are in prison facing serious charges and are being held pending investigations," she said.

No one, she added, is offering a solution.

Tensions persist across the nation, with violence reported overnight Sunday in troubled northern Sinai. Officials say at least four soldiers were killed in a series of attacks by Islamist militants.

But the government in Cairo is moving ahead, beginning work this week on revising the constitution approved under Morsi's leadership last year. Critics denounced the document as insufficient to protect basic human and civil rights.

Show comments