Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi is buried in a small ceremony after suffering a fatal cardiac arrest in court during espionage trial where he warned he could reveal ‘many secrets’

Spread the love

Mohamed Morsi has been buried in Cairo in a small ceremony attended by his family a day after he collapsed and died in court. 

Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president after Hosni Mubarak was ousted in the Arab Spring, was buried in Medinat Nasr, in eastern Cairo, early Tuesday.

The Muslim Brotherood leader, 67, had been in court for a retrial on espionage charges when he suffered a cardiac arrest Monday and died before he could be taken to hospital.

Morsi had appeared ‘animated’ during the hearing, judicial and security sources said, and had just been granted a request to speak for five minutes.

He reportedly told the court that he could reveal ‘many secrets’ but they would breach the country’s national security just moments before he collapsed.  

Mohamed Morsi was buried early Tuesday in a cemetery in Medinat Nasr, in eastern Cairo (pictured), just hours after he collapsed and died while standing trial on espionage charges
Mohamed Morsi was buried early Tuesday in a cemetery in Medinat Nasr, in eastern Cairo (pictured), just hours after he collapsed and died while standing trial on espionage charges
Egyptian security officials stood guard outside the cemetery where a small ceremony was held for Morsi which was attended by members of his family
Egyptian security officials stood guard outside the cemetery where a small ceremony was held for Morsi which was attended by members of his family
A man walks past the Al-Wafaa Wa al-Amal cemetery on Tuesday morning as a police vehicle stands guard while Mohamed Morsi is buried
A man walks past the Al-Wafaa Wa al-Amal cemetery on Tuesday morning as a police vehicle stands guard while Mohamed Morsi is buried
A view over the Al-Wafaa Wa al-Amal cemetery, where the ceremony took place
A view over the Al-Wafaa Wa al-Amal cemetery, where the ceremony took place
Morsi, 67, had been in court for a retrial on espionage charges and had reportedly told the judge he could reveal 'many secrets' before he collapsed
Morsi, 67, had been in court for a retrial on espionage charges and had reportedly told the judge he could reveal ‘many secrets’ before he collapsed

Son Abdullah Mohamed Morsi said the family were forced to opt for a private ceremony after a request for a public burial in Morsi’s hometown was denied.

Human rights groups have long complained about his treatment in jail – where he has been kept since he was removed from power in 2013 – and are calling for an independent investigation.

‘He fell to the ground in the cage… and was transported immediately to the hospital. A medical report found… no pulse or breathing,’ said the attorney general’s office.

‘He arrived at the hospital dead at 4:50 pm exactly and there were no new, visible injuries found on the body.’

Another of Morsi’s legal defence team described the moment he received news of his death.

‘We heard the banging on the glass cage from the rest of the other inmates and them screaming loudly that Morsi had died,’ the lawyer, Osama El Helw, told AFP.

Since Morsi’s overthrow his former defence minister, now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has waged an ongoing crackdown that has seen thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters jailed and hundreds facing death sentences. 

Protesters were out in New York's Times Square on Monday evening to rally against the military government in Egypt following Morsi's death
Protesters were out in New York’s Times Square on Monday evening to rally against the military government in Egypt following Morsi’s death
A woman holds a picture of Mohamed Morsi during protests against Egypt's military government in New York on Monday
A woman holds a picture of Mohamed Morsi during protests against Egypt’s military government in New York on Monday
People pray for Morsi outside the Consulate General of Egypt in New York on Monday
People pray for Morsi outside the Consulate General of Egypt in New York on Monday
Supporters of Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president following the Arab Spring protests in 2011, pray for him outside the Consulate General of Egypt in Istanbul on Monday
Supporters of Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president following the Arab Spring protests in 2011, pray for him outside the Consulate General of Egypt in Istanbul on Monday
Last night mourners gathered in Istanbul to express their sadness of Morsi's death
Last night mourners gathered in Istanbul to express their sadness of Morsi’s death
Mourners were pictured praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem following the announcement of his death
Mourners were pictured praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem following the announcement of his death

A judicial source said Morsi had fainted during a break in the trial hearing.

The court officials ‘had just finished the session for the espionage case and they informed the judge that he had fainted and needed to be transported to a hospital where he later died’, he told AFP. 

Morsi last saw his family in September 2018. A month later, one of his sons, Abdallah, was arrested.

Abdel Maksoud was the last member of his defence team to see the former Islamist president, in November 2017.

Morsi during his trial on charges of espionage in 2015
Morsi during his trial on charges of espionage in 2015

The Brotherhood’s political wing – the Freedom and Justice Party – accused Egyptian authorities of ‘deliberately killing him slowly’.

They ‘put him in solitary confinement… they withheld medication and gave him disgusting food… they did not grant him the most basic human rights,’ it said in a statement.

Rights group Amnesty International called on Egyptian authorities to open ‘an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation probe’ into Morsi’s death and his detention conditions.

Human Rights Watch echoed that demand, saying Morsi had suffered years of ‘insufficient access to medical care’.

‘The United Nations Human Rights Council… should establish an investigation into ongoing gross violations of human rights in Egypt, including widespread ill-treatment in prisons and Morsi’s death,’ it said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a strong ally of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, paid tribute to the ‘martyr’.

The Gaza-based Palestinian movement Hamas, originally an offshoot of the Brotherhood, also hailed Morsi’s influence. 

State TV in Egypt announcing the death of Morsi during his trial earlier on Monday afternoon
State TV in Egypt announcing the death of Morsi during his trial earlier on Monday afternoon
Morsi's son Ahmed posted on Facebook after his death saying he would 'meet his father in heaven'. The pair had not seen each other since September last year
Morsi’s son Ahmed posted on Facebook after his death saying he would ‘meet his father in heaven’. The pair had not seen each other since September last year
Morsi had been held in detention since he was removed from power in 2013, and was staying at Cairo's Tora prison (pictured last night) when he died
Morsi had been held in detention since he was removed from power in 2013, and was staying at Cairo’s Tora prison (pictured last night) when he died
Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohammed Morsi supporters clash with Egyptian riot police during a demonstration in the streets of Cairo in 201
Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohammed Morsi supporters clash with Egyptian riot police during a demonstration in the streets of Cairo in 201

Iran’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi called his death ‘sad and unfortunate’ and said that ‘while respecting the views of the great nation of Egypt, offers its condolences.’ 

Internationally he received some support, but in his homeland, Morsi has a chequered legacy.

He spent just one turbulent year in office after the 2011 uprising, before being toppled by the military after millions took to the streets demanding his resignation.

The Islamist leader has been in prison since his ouster, on trial in several cases including for spying for Iran, Qatar and militant groups such as Hamas.

Morsi was also accused of plotting terrorist acts.

He was sentenced to death in May 2015 for his role in jailbreaks during the uprising that ousted his predecessor, longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. 

People perform funeral prayer in absentia over the demise of Egypt's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in Jerusalem on Monday
People perform funeral prayer in absentia over the demise of Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in Jerusalem on Monday
Tahrir Square in central Cairo pictured this evening after the news of Morsi's death was reported by state media
Tahrir Square in central Cairo pictured this evening after the news of Morsi’s death was reported by state media

Following the news of his death, Egyptian television channels went into feverish overdrive, labelling the Brotherhood a ‘terrorist group’ and playing a looping tagline: ‘The Brothers are liars’.

A group of British parliamentarians in March 2018 warned that his detention conditions had not met international standards and could lead to his ‘premature death’.

Other Brotherhood leaders have also died in custody.

The years following Morsi’s overthrow have seen a surge in bombings and shootings targeting security forces, particularly in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, now a stronghold of the Islamic State group.

Morsi’s turbulent rule was marked by deep divisions in Egyptian society, a crippling economic crisis and often-deadly opposition protests.

His death comes days before Egypt hosts the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, starting Friday.

Authorities have been on high alert, announcing on Facebook Wednesday that thousands of forces would be deployed to secure venues. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Morsi shake hands at a joint press conference in Berlin in 2013
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Morsi shake hands at a joint press conference in Berlin in 2013
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid Tribute to Morsi after his death was announced on Monday
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid Tribute to Morsi after his death was announced on Monday
Erdogan, right, and former Egyptian President Morsi together at a press conference in 2012
Erdogan, right, and former Egyptian President Morsi together at a press conference in 2012

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *