CAIRO – Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi has died after appearing in court in Cairo, according to state media.
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 protests and 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.