Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy collapsed and died in a Cairo court Monday, soon after making a final statement in his trial on espionage charges.
Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, Morsy, 67, had just been led back to a soundproof glass cage inside the courtroom when he fell unconscious, Egypt’s public prosecution office said in a statement.
“He spoke 7 minutes just before the trial session adjourned,” Morsy’s lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud told CNN. “A minute after, we saw fuss in the court glass box, we could hear the defendants screaming, Dr. Morsi has fallen,” said Abdel Maqsoud, who is also the lead lawyer for the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement.
Morsy had closed his final statement by quoting a verse of a poem that read, “My country is dear even if it oppressed me and my people are honourable even if they were unjust to me,” Abdel Maqsoud said.
Egypt’s state-run Al Ahram online reported that the former leader suffered a heart attack. He was pronounced dead after arriving at the hospital at 4:50 p.m. (10:50 a.m. ET), the prosecutor’s office said. No apparent injuries were found on his body, it added.
On Monday evening, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reacted to the news, calling Morsy a “brother” and a “martyr,” according to state-run news agency Anadolu.
Erdogan also tweeted about Morsy’s death, saying he had “conducted one of the biggest democratic struggles of the history.”
Morsy was buried in Nasr City, a district in eastern Cairo, alongside other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood, his wife Naglaa Mahmoud said on her Facebook page on Tuesday.
Egyptian authorities barred Morsy’s relatives from burying his body in his home province of Sharqiya, Mahmoud said. Family members were allowed to attend the burial, she said.
According to Islamic law and Egyptian tradition, the deceased should be buried as soon as possible. Muslim burial rites are commonly performed the same day or within 24 hours of death.