Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s former president who was ousted in 2013 following mass protests, died suddenly Monday after collapsing in court during his trial, according to local television reports. He was 67.
Morsi, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood party, became the country’s first president elected through free elections in 2012. He was ousted a year later by the military following massive protests over his rule. The widespread uproar also resulted in a major crackdown of the Brotherhood, with many of the group’s leaders being arrested.
He was on trial for espionage charges and attending a session Monday when he died. Morsi had just finished up addressing the court from behind a glass cage, warning that he had “many secrets” he could reveal, before he collapsed, a judicial officer said to The Associated Press.
He was pronounced dead before he could be taken to the hospital.
Morsi was being held inside Cairo’s Tura Prison undergoing multiple trials, including the charges of espionage with the Palestinian Hamas militant group.
The conditions of his detainment were cause for concern among human rights groups and some politicians. In 2018, three British lawmakers reported that the his confinement could be considered inhumane and result in his death, specifically noting that he was being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day with just one hour to exercise.
“Our conclusions are stark,” panel chair Crispin Blunt MP said during a presentation of the findings. “On his health, the denial of basic medical treatment to which he is entitled could lead to his premature death.”
Morsi’s son, Abdullah Morsi, had previously said his father’s health was declining in solitary. The former president had a history of diabetes, liver and kidney disease.
Mohammed Sudan, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, called Morsi’s death “premeditated murder,” noting that he was not receiving proper care in prison.
“He has been placed behind glass cage (during trials). No one can hear him or know what is happening to him,” Sudan said. “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.”
Since Morsi was ousted from office, Egypt’s government declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization. Former Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who led the military, was subsequently elected president.
Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been arrested since 2013, mainly Islamists but secular activists who were behind the 2011 uprising.
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