Egypt’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi was confirmed dead after a heart attack during his trial on espionage charges. “After the case was adjourned, he fainted and died. His body was then transferred to the hospital,” reported the Egyptian state newspaper al-Ahram. Investigation over the cause of Morsi’s death is being held, however, no visible, recent external injuries were found on his body. Human-right groups like Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood, indicated that the Egyptian government was responsibe for his death, referring to alleged mistreatment and poor prison conditions during his detention.
Morsi became the North African country’s first democratically elected president in 2012, one year after the Arab Spring uprising ended the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak. However, Morsi’s time in the office was cut short a year later when a new wave of protests demanding new elections spread throughout Egypt. On 3 July 2013, the military seized power in a coup, which brought the chief-of-staff of the Egyptian armed forces, Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, into power. Morsi was accused of spying for the Palestinian Islamist organisation Hamas and put in prison.
There have been various reports that Morsi had been mistreated in prison. Many human-rights groups and activists denounced the government for being responsible for Morsi’s death, blaming authorities for his systematic isolation and mistreatment. “The government of Egypt today bears responsibility for his death, given their failure to provide him with adequate medical care or basic prisoner rights,” commented Human Rights Watch. In the meantime, Egypt has accused the United Nations of seeking to “politicize” the death in court of the country’s first democratically elected president by calling for an “independent inquiry” into his alleged mistreatment and death.