Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi dies after fainting in court

Egypt’s former president Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who rose to office in the country’s first free elections in 2012 and was ousted a year later by the military, has collapsed in court during a trial and died, state TV and his family said.

The 67-year-old had just addressed the court, speaking from the glass cage he is kept in during sessions and warning that he had ‘many secrets’ he could reveal, a judicial official said.

A few minutes afterwards he collapsed, the official said.

State TV said Mr Morsi died before he could be taken to hospital.

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has died in court, state television reported on Monday. Pictured: Morsi on trial for espionage charges in 2016

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has died in court, state television reported on Monday. Pictured: Morsi on trial for espionage charges in 2016

Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi has died in court, state television reported on Monday. Pictured: Morsi on trial for espionage charges in 2016

State TV in Egypt announcing the death of Morsi during his trial earlier on Monday afternoon

State TV in Egypt announcing the death of Morsi during his trial earlier on Monday afternoon

State TV in Egypt announcing the death of Morsi during his trial earlier on Monday afternoon

Mr Morsi has been in prison undergoing multiple trials ever since the military ousted him in July 2013 and launched a massive crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists.

Monday’s session was part of a retrial, being held inside Cairo’s Tura Prison, on charges of espionage with the Palestinian Hamas militant group.

Morsi during his trial on charges of espionage in 2015

Morsi during his trial on charges of espionage in 2015

Morsi during his trial on charges of espionage in 2015

Mr Morsi’s son Ahmed confirmed the death of his father in a Facebook post.

Mohammed Sudan, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, described Mr 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 a months or nearly a year. He complained before that he doesn’t get his medicine. This is premeditated murder. This is slow death.’

The judicial official said Mr Morsi had asked to speak to the court during the session.

The judge permitted it, and Mr Morsi gave a speech saying he had ‘many secrets’ that, if he told them, he would be released, but he added that he was not telling them because it would harm Egypt’s national security.

People perform funeral prayer in absentia over the demise of Egypt's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in Jerusalem on Monday

People perform funeral prayer in absentia over the demise of Egypt's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in Jerusalem on Monday

People perform funeral prayer in absentia over the demise of Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in Jerusalem on Monday

Tahrir Square in central Cairo pictured this evening after the news of Morsi's death was reported by state media

Tahrir Square in central Cairo pictured this evening after the news of Morsi's death was reported by state media

Tahrir Square in central Cairo pictured this evening after the news of Morsi’s death was reported by state media

Morsi's son Ahmed posted on Facebook after his death saying he would 'meet his father in heaven'

Morsi's son Ahmed posted on Facebook after his death saying he would 'meet his father in heaven'

Morsi’s son Ahmed posted on Facebook after his death saying he would ‘meet his father in heaven’

Mr Morsi was a longtime senior figure in Egypt’s most powerful Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood.

He was elected in 2012 in the country’s first free presidential election, held a year after an Arab Spring uprising ousted Egypt’s longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.

His Muslim Brotherhood also held a majority in parliament.

The military, led by then-defence minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, ousted Mr Morsi after massive protests against the Brotherhood’s domination of power.

Mr El-Sissi was subsequently elected president and has waged a massive crackdown on Islamists and other opponents since.

Since Mr Morsi’s ousting, Egypt’s government has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation and largely crushed it with a heavy crackdown.

Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been arrested since 2013, mainly Islamists but also secular activists who were behind the 2011 uprising.

He has been sentenced to 20 years after being convicted of ordering Brotherhood members to break up a protest against him, resulting in deaths.

Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohammed Morsi supporters clash with Egyptian riot police during a demonstration in the streets of Cairo in 2013

Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohammed Morsi supporters clash with Egyptian riot police during a demonstration in the streets of Cairo in 2013

Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohammed Morsi supporters clash with Egyptian riot police during a demonstration in the streets of Cairo in 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Morsi shake hands at a joint press conference in Berlin in 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Morsi shake hands at a joint press conference in Berlin in 2013

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Morsi shake hands at a joint press conference in Berlin in 2013

An earlier death sentence was overturned.

Multiple cases are still pending.

Mr Morsi was held in a special wing in the sprawling Tora detention complex nicknamed Scorpion Prison.

Rights groups say its poor conditions fall far below Egyptian and international standards.  

Mr Morsi’s son Ahmed confirmed the death of his father in a Facebook post.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid tribute to Morsi after news of his death broke – calling him a ‘martyr.’

‘May Allah rest our Morsi brother, our martyr’s soul in peace,’ said Erdogan, who had forged close ties with Morsi.

Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been virtually non-existent since the Egyptian military, then led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, in 2013 ousted Islamist president Morsi. Sisi has since become president.

Erdogan has strongly denounced Morsi’s ouster and called for the release of Muslim Brotherhood prisoners in Egypt.

Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan again took aim at Sisi, calling him a ‘tyrant’ who took power in a ‘coup’ and who has trampled on democracy.

‘The West has remained silent,’ Erdogan said.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said: ‘The coup moved him (Morsi) away from the power but his memory will not be erased.’

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid Tribute to Morsi after his death was announced on Monday

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid Tribute to Morsi after his death was announced on Monday

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid Tribute to Morsi after his death was announced on Monday

Erdogan, right, and former Egyptian President Morsi together at a press conference in 2012

Erdogan, right, and former Egyptian President Morsi together at a press conference in 2012

Erdogan, right, and former Egyptian President Morsi together at a press conference in 2012

Mohammed Morsi: A profile of Egypt’s deposed president

Mohammed Morsi is famous for being Egypt’s first democratically elected president.

His time in office, however, only lasted a year before he was deposed by his own military in July 2013.

Since then he has been on trial accused of several crimes.

Initially he was tried alongside 14 senior figures from the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement, accused of inciting his supporters to murder a journalist and two opposition protesters, and ordering the torture and unlawful detention of others. 

He was eventually acquitted of the murder but jailed for 20 years for ordering the torture and detention of protesters.

The former president was then charged with a host of other crimes and even sentenced to death, but had the conviction overturned.  

He was on trial for espionage when he died in court on 17 June 2019.

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