Egypt Watch

The Egyptian authorities punishes the Egyptian Medical Syndicate for El-Erian’s obituary

An obituary issued by the Egyptian Doctors Syndicate, before it was withdrawn, to the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood who died inside his prison, Essam El-Erian, caused a significant crisis that prompted the union’s general secretary to resign, amid news of other resignations among the council’s members.

In a statement on the Syndicate’s Facebook page, General Secretary of the Syndicate Council Ehab Taher said that his resignation came after “many reproaches of those who thought that he was behind the death of El-Erian, and the negative reactions that resulted from among the doctors.” He stressed that he had never “participated in that,” highlighting the union’s apology. He said that the obituary proposal “was led by young doctors in good faith before they became aware of the mistake.” The resignation came one day after the controversial lawyer Samir Sabry submitted a communiqué accusing members of the Syndicate Council of belonging to the Brotherhood.

According to sources who spoke to Egypt Watch, there is a tendency within the Syndicate Council to present its members their resignation. The source stressed that the resignation would primarily include those who were accused they were behind the publication of the obituary. The sources add that consultations are taking place to hold early elections for the council after its members resign. According to the sources, stability has not yet been established on what exactly will be implemented before confirming that new upcoming moves will follow the resignation of Taher.

El-Erian, who died in Egyptian prisons, amid accusations of gross medical negligence against him, previously held the Secretary-General of the Doctors Syndicate for several years. He also remained a member of the Medical Council for other years. El-Erian’s service as a Secretary-General of the Doctors Syndicate prompted observers to consider his obituary by the Medical Association as usual.

After the announcement of the obituary spread, the Doctors Syndicate retreated and apologized, saying that it caused pain to the families of the “martyrs,” referring to the victims of armed operations that the regime accuses the Muslim Brotherhood of being responsible for, while the group denies this. The authorities consider the Brotherhood to which El-Erian belongs, banned, months after the ouster of the late former president, “Mohamed Morsi,” from power in a military coup in July 2013.

El-Erian was elected as a member of the board of directors of the Egyptian Medical Syndicate in 1986 and held the position of Assistant Secretary-General and a treasurer of the Syndicate several years.