THE shock death of ousted President Mohammed Morsi in an Egyptian courtroom has been branded “full fledged murder” by his die-hard supporters.
A leading figure in the banned Muslim Brotherhood claimed the former leader died after he was stopped from receiving vital medicine while held in Cairo’s Tura Prison.
The 67-year-old was in a caged dock on Monday for his trial on spying charges when he suddenly blacked out.
He collapsed and died shortly after telling the court he could reveal “many secrets” but they would breach national security.
The Muslim Brotherhood leader had risen to office in the country’s first elections in 2012 but was ousted just a year later by the military.
The group said Morsi’s death was a “full fledged murder” and called on Egyptians to gather for a mass funeral.
London-based Mohammed Sudan, of the outlawed organisation, insisted the death was as case of “premeditated murder.”
He claimed the former president was banned from receiving medicine or prison visits and information about his health was kept under wraps.
“He has been placed behind a glass cage (during trials). No-one can hear him or know what is happening to him,” he said.
“He hasn’t received any visits for a months or nearly a year. He complained before that he doesn’t get his medicine. This is premeditated murder. This is slow death.”
State TV has said the cause of death was a heart attack.
Morsi was pronounced dead in hospital at 4.50pm local time and an initial report showed no signs of recent injuries on the body, Egypt’s public prosecutor said.
The body was taken to a hospital after he died.
However, his son Abdullah told Reuters he did not know its location and said the authorities were refusing to allow Morsi to be buried in his native province of Sharqiya.
POLICE GUARD BODY
Pictures later emerged of an police vehicle is parked inside a cemetery in Cairo where it has been reported Morsi has been laid to rest.
Defence lawyer Kamel Madour said Morsi spoke for around five minutes during a court appearance before collapsing inside the cage he was held in.
Before he collapsed the former president “was very calm and organised”, said Madour.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid tribute to Morsi, calling him a “martyr”.
Morsi was elected president in 2012 in the Egypt’s first free elections following the ousting the year before of longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.
But the military in turn deposed Morsi in 2013 after massive protests and crushed the Brotherhood in a major crackdown, arresting him and many of the group’s leaders.
He had already been sentenced to more than 45 years in prison in three separate trials, including for leading an outlawed group, detention and torture of anti-government protesters and leaking state secrets.
He had always rejected the authority of the courts, and his supporters denounced the trials as politically motivated and attempts to give legal cover to a coup based on unreliable witnesses and scant evidence.
Morsi was born in the village of El-Adwah in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya in 1951.
He studied Engineering at Cairo University in the 1970s before moving to the United States to complete a PhD.
Morsi rose through the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood and served as an independent MP in the movement’s parliamentary bloc from 2000 to 2005.
He was chosen as the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate in April 2012, in what was the first free vote for leader in the country’s history.
Morsi promised reforms and to improve living standards for Egypt’s 83 million people but he faced mounting criticism for failing to deliver.
During a turbulent year in office, critics accused him of concentrating power in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood and he was also accused of mishandled the economy.
After days of protests he finally backed down but a rushed version of the constitution was boycotted by liberals, secularists and the Coptic Church.
As unrest to mounted, clashes between opponents and supporters of Morsi that left more than 50 people dead.
Morsi came to power on the back of the wave of protests known as the Arab Spring that saw autocratic and corrupt regimes overthrown.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered in the Tahrir Square in the centre of the capital Cairo.
They demanded the end of the 30 year autocratic rule of President Hosni Mubarak, and ally of the West whose regime was blamed for high levels of poverty, corruption and unemployment.
Parliamentary elections in 2011-12 saw overwhelming victories for the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party and Salafist al-Nour party
General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi remains the country’s leader after winning the 2014 presidential election.
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