Egypt’s ousted president Mohammed Morsi dies during trial

Morsi was detained after being ousted by the army in 2013 (AFP)
Morsi was detained after being ousted by the army in 2013 (AFP)

(BBC) Egypt’s former President Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military in 2013, has died after fainting in a courtroom, officials say.

A top figure in the now-banned Islamist movement Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi collapsed in a cage after speaking at a hearing on charges of espionage.

Morsi, who was 67, had been in custody since being overthrown following mass protests a year after he took office.

Activists and his family had long complained about his prison conditions.

There were concerns about Morsi not receiving medical treatment for serious health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes, and that he was being held under constant solitary confinement.

What happened in court?

Morsi collapsed moments after addressing the court in Cairo from a cage some defendants are kept in during sessions, Egypt’s public prosecutor said, adding that a medical report showed no signs of recent injuries on the body.

The hearing related to charges of espionage emanating from suspected contacts with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Morsi, who became Egypt’s first democratically elected leader after winning polls in 2012, had already been sentenced to more than 45 years in prison in three separate trials, including leading an outlawed group, detention and torture of anti-government protesters and leaking state secrets.

Last month, his family said authorities had repeatedly denied access to him and they knew little about his health conditions, a situation that “violate[d] constitutions applied all over the world”.

In March last year, his youngest son, Abdullah, said in a Washington Post op-ed that the authorities were “doing this on purpose, since they want to see him dead ‘from natural causes’ as soon as possible”.