Egypt ex-President Morsi collapses, dies in court during sitting

by Bamidele Ogunberu Posted on June 17th, 2019

Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, died in an Egyptian courtroom on Monday, Egyptian state television reported. He was on trial on espionage charges when he fainted and died, Egyptian television said.

The 67-year-old died after fainting during the court session in the Egyptian capital on Monday, state TV reported.

“He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted. He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he later died,” a judicial source said.

Morsi became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012, one year after the Arab Spring uprising saw the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

He was then deposed in July 2013 following mass protestsand a military coup led by Egypt’s current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and was immediately arrested.

Morsi served just one year of a four-year term, while the organisation to which he belonged, the Muslim Brotherhood, has since been outlawed.

Morsi, who was facing at least six trials, had been behind bars for nearly six years and was serving a 20-year prison sentence for a conviction arising from the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012. He was also serving a life sentence for espionage in a case related to the Gulf state of Qatar.

Other charges against the former leader include jailbreak, insulting the judiciary and involvement in “terrorism”.

In November 2016, the Court of Cassation scrapped the life imprisonment sentence for Morsi and 21 other defendants, including some who had received the death penalty in the same case, and ordered a retrial.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was the first world leader to pay tribute to Morsi, calling him a “martyr.”

“May Allah rest our brother Morsi, our martyr’s soul in peace,” said Erdogan, who had forged close ties with late former president.

Denied medical treatment

Morsi had a history of health issues, including diabetes and liver and kidney disease. He had suffered from medical neglect during his imprisonment, compounded by the poor conditions in jail.

A 2018 report conducted by three British MPs under the Independent Detention Review Panel, warned that the lack of medical treatment could result in Morsi suffering from a “premature death”.

“Our conclusions are stark,” Crispin Blunt and the panel’s chairman said at the time. “The denial of basic medical treatment to which he is entitled could lead to his premature death.”

“The whole overseeing chain of command up to the current president would have responsibility for this,” he added.

The panel were denied access by Egyptian authorities to visit Morsi, and relied on testimonies, witness statements, NGO reports, and independently submitted evidence.

They said that Morsi was being kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, which under the UN guidelines, would classify as torture.

Mohamed Morsi’s death: World reaction

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani

Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani offered his condolences to Morsi’s family and Egyptian people.

“We received with great sorrow the news of the sudden death of former president Dr Mohamed Morsi. I offer my deepest condolences to his family and Egyptian people. We belong to God and to him we shall return,” Sheikh Tamim said in a Twitter post

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, paid tribute to Morsi, calling him a “martyr”.

“May Allah rest our Morsi brother, our martyr’s soul in peace,” said Erdogan, who had forged close ties with the former president.

United Nations

United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric offered condolences to Morsi’s relatives and supporters.

Human Rights Watch

Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, called Morsi’s death “terrible but entirely predictable”, given the government’s failure to allow him adequate medical care.

Mohamed Morsi’s son

In a Facebook post, Morsi’s son, Ahmed, confirmed the death of his father.

“In front of Allah, my father and we shall unite,” he wrote.

Member of the Muslim Brotherhood

Mohammed Sudan, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, described Morsi’s death as “premeditated murder”, saying that the former president was banned from receiving medicine or visits and there was little information about his health condition.

“He has been placed behind [a] glass cage [during trials]. No one can hear him or know what is happening to him. He hasn’t received any visits for months or nearly a year. He complained before that he doesn’t get his medicine. This is premeditated murder. This is slow death.”

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