Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Egypt's former president Mohammed Morsi dies after court hearing

The divisive Muslim Brotherhood leader was removed from office after mass protests

Mohammed Morsi, Egypt’s former president, died yesterday of an apparent heart attack shortly after he addressed a court trying him on espionage charges.

The office of Egypt’s chief prosecutor said that Morsi, 67, collapsed while the court was in recess.

He was taken to a nearby prison hospital but was pronounced dead soon after his arrival at about 5pm.

The court is in a police academy adjacent to where Morsi was being held at the sprawling Torah prison complex, nicknamed The Scorpion, south of Cairo.

The prosecutor’s statement said he addressed the court for five minutes before it went into recess.

Morsi told the court he had secrets related to the case that, if revealed, would prove his innocence. But he would not disclose them, saying it would harm Egypt’s national security.

The Muslim Brotherhood member was sentenced to life in prison for spying and conspiring with the militant Palestinian group Hamas against Egypt.

But the Court of Cassation, the country’s highest appeals court, overturned the verdict and ordered a retrial.

Morsi and nearly all leaders of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood were detained after the military, then led by his successor Abdel Fattah El Sisi, removed him in July 2013 amid a wave of street protests against his divisive, one-year rule.

Morsi was elected in 2012, a year after a popular uprising toppled the 29-year regime of Hosni Mubarak.

His short time at the helm was defined by an unpopular power grab in late 2012, when he issued a constitutional declaration that gave him far-reaching powers and his executive orders legal immunity.

Morsi's rule was also characterised by what many Egyptians saw as a failure to be president for all, showing blatant favour to the Brotherhood and its supporters.

The long-time diabetic was serving a life sentence for conspiring with Qatar against Egypt. He was still facing a trial for breaking out of prison shortly after the 2011 uprising began on January 25.

Since his removal, thousands of Brotherhood members have been detained.

One of Morsi’s sons, Abdullah, 25, complained last October that his father was suffering from poor health because of the prison conditions, including his years in solitary confinement.

Authorities have consistently denied accusations that prisoners were badly treated, saying Morsi was regularly examined by doctors and given medicine.

Updated: June 18, 2019 08:57 AM

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