Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has called for an independent inquiry into the circumstances of the late President Mohammed Morsi’s death, his hasty burial and the conditions of his detention.
Morsi collapsed during a court session on Monday, was denied first aid for up to 30 minutes, then taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
The former president of Egypt was kept in a cell for 23 hours a day since his overthrow in 2013 and consistently denied medical attention for his diabetes, kidney and liver disease.
After requests to bury him in his home village in the Nile Delta were refused, a small circle of family and friends buried Morsi at the mosque in Tora Prison. Egyptian authorities prevented his family from holding a consolation for his death at his home.
Omar has joined the UN, Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and a number of human rights organizations in calling for an independent probe.
In the context of previous calls that the US must put human rights, justice, and peace at the center of its foreign policy, this is not the first time the refugee turned politician has spoken out about Egypt.
In a Washington Post op-ed published earlier this year she said: “Our criticisms of oppression and regional instability caused by Iran are not legitimate if we do not hold Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to the same standards”.
In April Omar demanded 60-year-old human rights lawyer Hoda Abdelmonem be released after she was arrested in Egypt in November last year as one of 19 human rights activists swept up in an overnight crackdown on rights advocates.
However, she has come under fire for her views. Omar has been accused by pro-Saudi media of being a subversive agent for the Muslim Brotherhood and of being linked to a conspiracy to destroy the relationship between the US and Saudi, Egypt’s ally, and realign it with Iran and Qatar.
In May, after Israel bombarded the Gaza Strip, Omar called for justice to “bring about security and lasting peace to Gaza.”
“How many more protesters must be shot, rockets must be fired, and little kids must be killed until the endless cycle of violence ends?”
“The status quo of occupation and humanitarian crisis in Gaza is unsustainable. Only real justice can bring about security and lasting peace.”
The US President’s son accused her of siding with “Hamas terrorists over Israel.”