Morsi’s place of detention

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Al-Jazeera channels, supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood group, along with other pro-MB social media pages, recently celebrated the leak of a sound-track attributed to General Mamdouh Shaheen, discussing the location where Mohamed Morsi was held in custody, from 3 July 2013 until his transfer to Torah Prison.

The first question rising up is about the authenticity of the track. This will require impartial and transparent verification.

As for its content, the recording only includes the voice of Major General Shaheen himself, never that of his interlocutors. We can hear General Shaheen having telephone conversations with other parties, asking them clearly and unequivocally to place a sign on Morsi’s detention place (a Navy base in Abu Qir) saying that the place is under the Interior Ministry jurisdiction, or is being used as a place of detention by the Interior Ministry. Strange and unusual in the statement attributed to General Shaheen is the fact that he admits that failure to respond to this request would “spoil” the case in which Morsi is being accused of spying, and would lead to his acquittal. He then adds, as far as one could make out in the recording, that Morsi would then be released, come out and “take us all to court!”

All of the above leads to some questions.

Is the site of Morsi’s detention actually the pivotal issue that will determine the course of his trial? Is the man not facing trial for having committed tremendous crimes against Egypt and the Egyptians – among them the transfer of Egyptian national security secrets to foreign countries?  In other words, is he not accused of spying against his country when being President?  Is the issue Morsi’s place of detention, or the murder of demonstrators in front of the Ittihadeya Palace and the Guidance Bureau? Is the issue Morsi’s place of detention, or the killing, torturing, and annihilation of the rights of all Egyptians without limitations?

Secondly, it is widely known that the popular revolution which began on 30 June called for the armed forces to intervene and respond to the people’s demands. It is known that Morsi was held in the headquarters of the Republican Guard, and that he was moved before the attempted break-in of elements from the MB organization, and transferred to the armed forces’ custody. The same place where the European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Baroness Catherine Ashton, visited him.

One can assume that many questions are still pending about General Mamdouh Shaheen’s role. He had never hidden his partiality towards the Muslim Brotherhood group throughout the rule of the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF), from the moment Mubarak stepped down, up until Morsi came to power. He played a prominent role in empowering the Brotherhood, markedly when he brought about the constitutional amendments legalizing the establishment of political parties based on religion; and he helped the group to take over the reins of power in the country.

We are supposedly in a civilian sate, under civilian rule. The sound recording attributed to General Shaheen requires immediate and urgent investigation, the results of which should be presented to the Egyptian public. But there are still some questions waiting for answers.

What is General Shaheen’s official position in the governing structure today? What is his job? And what is his relationship with the trials going on? What is his exact role? Is what Shaheen said true? If so, then what exactly does he want? Is his intention through these statements to disfigure the image of the current government? And give the international group a pressure card for attacking President Al-Sisi, saying that the government is working hard to “falsify” facts in order to put Morsi on trial?

Let’s hope that the answers come quickly and promptly so as to put an end to the confusion caused by the statements attributed to General Shaheen.

Emad Gad is vice president of Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.