Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, shown in 2012, died Monday during a trial session in an espionage case in Cairo. (Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, shown in 2012, died Monday during a trial session in an espionage case in Cairo. (Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)
Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, shown in 2012, died Monday during a trial session in an espionage case in Cairo – © Image: Khaled Elfiqi/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi dies at the age of 67 in Cairo after collapsing in court on Monday.

Several media sources reported that Morsi collapsed in a glass cage during sessions after he had addressed the court for five minutes. Egyptian state television announced that Morsi had been attending a court session at his trial on charges of espionage and links with the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

It was reported that his body was transferred to a local hospital but Morsi was dead on arrival. He was buried on Tuesday, 18 June 2019.

The Muslim Brotherhood leader Morsi was the first elected president in the Arab history. He rose to office in the country’s first free elections in 2012 and was ousted a year later on 03 July 2013 by the military, led by then-defence minister Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

Al-Sisi ousted Morsi after massive protests against the Brotherhood’s domination of power and was subsequently elected as president. Since his power takeover, Al-Sisi has waged a brutal crackdown on Islamists and other opponents. Morsi was one of those detained.

Human Rights Watch has described the charges against Morsi as political. The group’s Middle East director, Sarah Leah Whitson, said on Twitter on Monday that Morsi’s imprisonment was “cruel and inhumane” and said he was “deprived of family visits and medical care.”

Although human rights activists have frequently reported the maltreatment Morsi had received over the past six years in prison, reasons for his sudden death remain unknown.

Citing a medical source, Egyptian state television reported early on Tuesday that Morsi died from a sudden heart attack. According to that medical source, Morsi was suffering from a benign tumour and had received continuous medical attention.

Attorney-General Nabil Sadiq issued a statement saying: “The accused, Mohammed Morsi, in the presence of the other defendants inside the cage, fell unconscious, where he was immediately transferred to the hospital.

“The preliminary medical report stated that by external medical examination they found no pulse, no breathing, and his eyes were unresponsive to light. He died at 4:50 p.m. and no apparent injuries to the body were found.”

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice party published a statement on its website holding Egyptian authorities responsible for Morsi’s “deliberate slow death”. The statement also said that Egyptian authorities “withheld medication and gave him disgusting food. They did not give him the most basic human rights.” The group called for masses to gather at his funeral in Egypt and at Egyptian embassies abroad.

Mohammed Sudan, the leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, said: “This is premeditated murder. This is slow death.”

Following his deposition and arrest, Morsi was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on 22 October 2016, over clashes that took place in 2012 in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, between supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood and opponents of Morsi.

He has faced multiple trials on charges that included spying for Iran and Qatar and for the killing of Egyptian protesters during demonstrations in 2012. With all the accusations and sentences against Morsi, his total incarceration could have been up to 48 years.

By Hakim Charles

Hakim Charles studied political science of the Middle East, European Studies, journalism and linguistics. He has been lecturing at different German universities since 2011 on issues related to ideology and the interplay of power thereof in socio-political life, and religion and its relationship to contemporary politics in the regions of West Asia and North Africa, especially Egypt and Syria. He is also the editor-in-chief of the Mashreq Politics & Culture Journal (MPC Journal) since 2014 and has published over 100 articles in different languages, academic and otherwise, in a wide spectrum of on-line and printed newspapers, journals and think tanks. His current research focuses on Islam-inspired political ideologies such as Islamist extremism and Salafism, radicalisation, de-radicalisation processes in Germany as well as peace and conflict in the Middle East.