Egypt’s ousted president Morsi dies in court during trial
Cairo – Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Islamist leader Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military in 2013 after a year in office, collapsed in court while on trial Monday and died, state TV and his family said.
The 67-year-old Morsi 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 afterward, he collapsed in the cage, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.
In his final comments, he continued to insist he was Egypt’s legitimate president, demanding a special tribunal, one of his defense lawyers, Kamel Madour told the Associated Press. State TV said Morsi died before he could be taken to the hospital.
Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood accused the government of “assassinating” him through years of poor prison conditions. Morsi, who was known to have diabetes, had been imprisoned since his 2013 ouster, often in solitary confinement and barred from visitors – his family was allowed to visit only three times during that time. Egypt’s chief prosecutor said Morsi’s body would be examined to determine the cause of his death.
It was a dramatic end for a figure who was central in the twists and turns taken by Egypt since its “revolution” – from the pro-democracy uprising that in 2011 ousted the country’s longtime authoritarian leader, Hosni Mubarak, through controversial Islamist rule and now back to a tight grip under the domination of military men.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s most powerful Islamist group, won the elections held after Mubarak’s fall, considered the first free votes the country had seen. First, they gained a majority in parliament, then Morsi squeaked to victory in presidential elections held in 2012, becoming the first civilian to hold the office.