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Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi faints, dies in courtroom

By
Clyde Hughes
Supporters of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi protest in Washington, D.C., where President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was visiting in April. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI
Supporters of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi protest in Washington, D.C., where President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was visiting in April. File Photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

June 17 (UPI) -- Mohamed Morsi, who became Egypt's first democratically elected president shortly after the Arab Spring -- only to be deposed a year later, died Monday during his trial on espionage charges.

Morsi, 67, the former leader of Muslim Brotherhood, fainted during the trial and died, state-run Egyptian TV reported.

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The 2012 Arab Spring protests led to the end of Hosni Mubarak's 30-year-rule as president. Morsi won elections a year later but the protests led to the military dissolving Parliament and ousting Morsi in 2013.

The Muslim Brotherhood is Islam's oldest political organization, which has strong support in Turkey and Qatar. From Istanbul, Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was one of the first international leaders to offer condolences.

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"May Allah rest our brother, our martyr Morsi's soul," Erdogan told reporters.

Morsi had been in prison since he was deposed. Authorities had housed him in Cairo's maximum security Tora prison along with other members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is now outlawed in Egypt.

The ouster led to Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi taking over as Egypt's current president.

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In March 2018 several British lawmakers petitioned for access to Morsi after a report claimed that his health was deteriorating. Some reports indicated that he had been denied medical treatment in prison, The Guardian reported.

Last September, a Cairo court issued the death sentence for 75 Muslim Brotherhood members for participating in protests following the Morsi's removal in 2013. Some 739 defendants were arrested for participating in a month-long sit-in in Cairo to protest Morsi's ouster.

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