Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi, a prominent leader of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood (MB) group who was democratically elected in the wake of the country’s 2011 uprising, suffered a fatal heart attack on Monday while facing espionage charges in a Cairo court after spending six years in prison following the military coup that ousted him.
Egyptian state media announced the cause of death late Monday.
In July 2013, then Egypt’s military chief, Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, led the public movement that toppled Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president. Sisi is now the president the North African nation.
Egyptian authorities placed Morsi on trial on a range of charges including spying and organizing a prison break during the 2011 rebellion. In 2015, he was sentenced to death over his alleged role in the prison-break.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
A leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mr. Morsi was a controversial figure in Egypt whose rise symbolized a fleeting moment of political freedom following the 2011 revolution that ended the three-decade dictatorship of his predecessor, President Hosni Mubarak, and helped catalyze a wave of rebellion across the Middle East.
Mr. Morsi, who was 67 years old, died after suffering a heart attack while appearing in a Cairo court where he was on trial on espionage charges, Egyptian state television reported.
Mr. Morsi’s year in power divided Egyptians, and his downfall in a military takeover resulted in the crushing of the country’s fledgling democracy and the dimming of democratic hopes throughout the region.
Mr. Morsi’s presidency was the highest pinnacle reached by the [Muslim Brotherhood] Islamist group, and his removal sent it into a political wilderness.
Morsi’s relatives and supporters had long expressed concerns about the MB leader’s deteriorating health. The former president was in prison since the 2013 uprising.
In 2018, Morsi’s family accused the Sisi administration of denying the Muslim Brotherhood chieftain medical treatment for “a range of conditions including diabetes and that he had been suffering from a recurring diabetic coma,” the Journal pointed out.
In a statement issued Monday, Egypt’s chief prosecutor suggested no foul play in Morsi’s demise. However, the prosecutor did not explicitly provide a cause of death.
“There were no visible, recent external injuries on the body of the deceased,” the statement said, adding that Morsi was dead on arrival at the hospital.
While calling for a mass funeral and worldwide protests outside Egyptian embassies, the Muslim Brotherhood has described Morsi’s death as “full-fledged murder,” Reuters reports.
MB accused the Sisi administration of “assassinating” Morsi, Breitbart News learned.
The human rights group Amnesty International has called for an “immediate investigation” into the circumstances surrounding Morsi’s death.
Citing his family, Amnesty noted that Egyptian authorities heavily restricted Morsi’s ability to communicate with the outside world. As a result, the human rights group said, “Little is known about his exact conditions of detention.”
Magdalena Mughrabi, the deputy director at Amnesty for the Middle East and North Africa, accused the Sisi administration of torturing Morsi.
He was held in solitary confinement for almost six years, placing a considerable strain on his mental and physical wellbeing and violating the absolute prohibition against torture and other ill-treatment under international law. During this six-year period, he was effectively cut off from the outside world – he was allowed only three family visits and was prevented from access to his lawyers or a doctor.
Following in the footsteps of several countries, including Russia and Muslim-majority Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, and Egypt, U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is considering labeling MB a terrorist organization.
Morsi’s ouster triggered a vast crackdown on Islamists, mainly targeting Morsi’s supporters and other individuals linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.
MB originated in Egypt in 1928. By changing existing governments and societies from within, the Islamist group seeks to establish a sharia-compliant global caliphate, according to internal documents made public.
MB has spawned jihadis and offshoots that rely on violence to achieve their goals, like the U.S.-designated Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
In December 2017, the Muslim Brotherhood, echoing jihadi groups like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), threatened to “wage war” against the United States in response to President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the American embassy there.
MB, al-Qaeda, and ISIS maintain a shared goal of establishing an Islamic global caliphate. MB, however, has the advantage of being “one of the oldest and broadest-reaching Islamist organizations in modern times,” the non-governmental organization (NGO) noted in its Muslim Brotherhood profile, citing data from various governments and news reports.
CEP found that either MB or some of its affiliated groups maintain an active presence in at least 18 countries primarily located across the Muslim world, namely in the Middle East and Africa.