Ousted Egyptian leader Mohamed Morsi who collapsed and died in court was ‘killed’, Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan claimed today.
Erdogan accused Egyptian authorities of failing to intervene to save the ex-president when he fell ill during his trial on Monday.
Speaking during a televised speech in Istanbul he claimed his close ally’s death was not due to natural causes.
He said: ‘Morsi was struggling on the floor in the courtroom for 20 minutes. Authorities unfortunately did not intervene to save him. Morsi was killed, he did not die of natural causes.’
This was not the first time the Turkish leader questioned Morsi’s cause of death as he made similar allegations while speaking after the funeral prayer in Istanbul’s Fatih Mosque yesterday.
Erdogan called Morsi a ‘martyr’ and blamed Egypt’s ‘tyrants’ for his death, adding that he doesn’t believe that Morsi died of natural causes.
He said: ‘Whether it was a normal death, or there were some other elements involved, this [Morsi’s death] was suspicious. Personally, I do not believe that it was a normal death.’
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking during a symbolic funeral ceremony for the former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the day after his death in Cairo
Mourners performing the funeral prayer in absentia for former President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi at Fatih Mosque in Istanbul yesterday
Morsi greeting press members as he stands behind the bars during his trial on charges of espionage on behalf of Qatar at the Police Academy in Cairo
Erdogan became emotional during the funeral prayers for former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Tuesday
Erdogan added that Turkey would do everything in its power to ensure Egypt faces trial in Morsi’s death.
He also called on the Islamic Cooperation Organisation to ‘take the necessary action’ over the demise of the former president of the Muslim Brotherhood who won Egypt’s first democratic election in 2012 before being deposed a year later.
The Turkish president also denounced the Egyptian authorities for burying Morsi discreetly, with only a small number of family members and confidants present.
‘They are so cowardly that they could not even deliver his body to his family,’ Erdogan said.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said earlier this week in a statement earlier this week raised questions about Morsi’s period of solitary confinement.
A spokesman said: ‘Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr Morsi’s detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family, during his nearly six years in custody.’
‘He also appears to have been held in prolonged solitary confinement.’
Egypt today lashed out at the United Nations, accusing the organisation of ‘politicising’ the death of Morsi.
The UN called for an investigation on Tuesday after Morsi collapsed and died during a court appearance this week.
The country’s foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez denounced as unacceptable comments by Rupert Colville, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who called for a ‘prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation’ into Mr Morsi’s death.
Thousands of mourners gathered in mosques and public squares around Turkey on Tuesday to offer prayers in absentia for ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi after he dropped dead in court on Monday
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was a a close ally of the late Morsi, addressed mourners during a symbolic funeral ceremony at Faith Mosque in Istanbul for the former Egyptian President the day after his death in Cairo
Crowds of people hold up the pro-Morsi sign, the four-finger Rabia sign along with posters of the former Egyptian President as they attend the symbolic funeral ceremony in Istanbul
Mourners gather at the Ulu Mosque in Gaziantep to offer prayers for Morsi, who died Monday from a cardiac arrest while standing trial for espionage in Cairo. A man holds a poster showing the four-fingered hand of Rabia, a symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood to which Morsi belonged
Hafez said Colville’s ‘politicised and immature’ remarks match those from a country exploiting Morsi’s death for political purposes, a likely reference to Turkey. Morsi, who hailed from the now outlawed Brotherhood, was buried on Tuesday.
Hafez ‘condemned’ the suggestion, insisting in a statement that it was ‘a case of natural death’.
Yesterday thousands of mourners took part in prayers for Morsi in Turkey a day after the Egyptian president collapsed and died.
Worshippers packed into squares and mosques in Ankara and Diyabakir to offer prayers in absentia for Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who won Egypt’s first democratic election in 2012 before being deposed.
Erdogan was a close ally of Morsi during his short tenure as president, and one of the fiercest international critics of the coup that toppled him.
In Egypt, a small ceremony was held Tuesday to bury Morsi in a cemetery in the east of the capital Cairo after his family said a request for a public burial in his hometown were denied by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government.
Sisi served as Morsi’s defence minister until rising up against him, and continues to serve as president to this day.
Morsi had been in court for a retrial on espionage charges when he suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday and died before he could be taken to hospital.
Morsi had appeared ‘animated’ during the hearing, judicial and security sources said, and had just been granted a request to speak for five minutes.
He reportedly told the court that he could reveal ‘many secrets’ but they would breach the country’s national security just moments before he collapsed.
Meanwhile in Egypt, Morsi was buried in a small, private ceremony attended by his family after they say a request for a much larger public burial in his hometown was rejected
Egyptian security officials stood guard outside the cemetery while Morsi was buried. The country is still run by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Morsi’s former defence chief who ousted him in a coup in 2013
A man walks past the Al-Wafaa Wa al-Amal cemetery on Tuesday as a police vehicle stands guard while Morsi is buried
Morsi, 67, had been in court for a retrial on espionage charges and had reportedly told the judge he could reveal ‘many secrets’ before he collapsed. He died before he could reach hospital
Son Abdullah Mohamed Morsi said the family were forced to opt for a private ceremony after a request for a public burial in Morsi’s hometown was denied.
Human rights groups have long complained about his treatment in jail – where he has been kept since he was removed from power in 2013 – and are calling for an independent investigation.
‘He fell to the ground in the cage… and was transported immediately to the hospital. A medical report found… no pulse or breathing,’ said the attorney general’s office.
‘He arrived at the hospital dead at 4.50pm exactly and there were no new, visible injuries found on the body.’
Dr Amr Darrag, former Minister for Planning, and Yehia Hamed, former Minister of Investment, both under the Morsi government, said: ‘Ever since his incarceration President Mohamed Morsi has been denied medical treatment.
‘The Egyptian regime knew that the continued denial of access to medical treatment would lead to his premature death. To that effect, the death of President Morsi is tantamount to state sponsored murder.
Morsi during his trial on charges of espionage in 2015
‘The first democratically elected President has died through a concerted and active campaign by the Egyptian regime. This is a gross violation of international law. It must not be allowed to stand.’
Another of Morsi’s legal defence team described the moment he received news of his death.
‘We heard the banging on the glass cage from the rest of the other inmates and them screaming loudly that Morsi had died,’ the lawyer, Osama El Helw, told AFP.
Since Morsi’s overthrow his former defence minister, now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has waged an ongoing crackdown that has seen thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters jailed and hundreds facing death sentences.
A judicial source said Morsi had fainted during a break in the trial hearing.
The court officials ‘had just finished the session for the espionage case and they informed the judge that he had fainted and needed to be transported to a hospital where he later died’, he told AFP.
Morsi last saw his family in September 2018. A month later, one of his sons, Abdallah, was arrested.
Abdel Maksoud was the last member of his defence team to see the former Islamist president, in November 2017.
The Brotherhood’s political wing – the Freedom and Justice Party – accused Egyptian authorities of ‘deliberately killing him slowly’.
Men hold up their index finger indicating ‘Oneness of God’ during symbolic funeral prayers in Turkey for Mohamed Morsi the day after the former Egyptian president died in Cairo
They are also seen holding up posters of the former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi during a symbolic funeral prayer
Women hold images of ex-President Mohamed Morsi at the funeral prayer for him at Konak Square in Izmir, Turkey
Mourners hold up posters reading ‘your way is our way’ alongside images of Morsi during funeral prayers in Turkey
A poster with the words ‘you are free now, brother’ is pinned to the wall outside the Fatih mosque in Istanbul
People attend symbolic funeral ceremony of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on June 18, 2019 at Fatih mosque in Istanbul
They ‘put him in solitary confinement… they withheld medication and gave him disgusting food… they did not grant him the most basic human rights,’ it said in a statement.
Rights group Amnesty International called on Egyptian authorities to open ‘an impartial, thorough and transparent investigation probe’ into Morsi’s death and his detention conditions.
Human Rights Watch echoed that demand, saying Morsi had suffered years of ‘insufficient access to medical care’.
‘The United Nations Human Rights Council… should establish an investigation into ongoing gross violations of human rights in Egypt, including widespread ill-treatment in prisons and Morsi’s death,’ it said.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a strong ally of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, paid tribute to the ‘martyr’.
The Gaza-based Palestinian movement Hamas, originally an offshoot of the Brotherhood, also hailed Morsi’s influence.
Iran’s Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi called his death ‘sad and unfortunate’ and said that ‘while respecting the views of the great nation of Egypt, offers its condolences.’
Protesters were out in New York’s Times Square on Monday evening to rally against the military government in Egypt following Morsi’s death
A woman holds a picture of Mohamed Morsi during protests against Egypt’s military government in New York on Monday
Supporters of Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president following the Arab Spring protests in 2011, pray for him outside the Consulate General of Egypt in Istanbul on Monday
Last night mourners gathered in Istanbul to express their sadness of Morsi’s death
Mourners were pictured praying at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem following the announcement of his death
Internationally he received some support, but in his homeland, Morsi has a chequered legacy.
He spent just one turbulent year in office after the 2011 uprising, before being toppled by the military after millions took to the streets demanding his resignation.
The Islamist leader has been in prison since his ouster, on trial in several cases including for spying for Iran, Qatar and militant groups such as Hamas.
Morsi was also accused of plotting terrorist acts.
He was sentenced to death in May 2015 for his role in jailbreaks during the uprising that ousted his predecessor, longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
State TV in Egypt announcing the death of Morsi during his trial earlier on Monday afternoon
Morsi’s son Ahmed posted on Facebook after his death saying he would ‘meet his father in heaven’. The pair had not seen each other since September last year
Morsi had been held in detention since he was removed from power in 2013, and was staying at Cairo’s Tora prison (pictured last night) when he died
Muslim Brotherhood and ousted president Mohammed Morsi supporters clash with Egyptian riot police during a demonstration in the streets of Cairo in 2013
Following the news of his death, Egyptian television channels went into feverish overdrive, labelling the Brotherhood a ‘terrorist group’ and playing a looping tagline: ‘The Brothers are liars’.
A group of British parliamentarians in March 2018 warned that his detention conditions had not met international standards and could lead to his ‘premature death’.
Other Brotherhood leaders have also died in custody.
The years following Morsi’s overthrow have seen a surge in bombings and shootings targeting security forces, particularly in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, now a stronghold of the Islamic State group.
Morsi’s turbulent rule was marked by deep divisions in Egyptian society, a crippling economic crisis and often-deadly opposition protests.
His death comes days before Egypt hosts the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament, starting Friday.
Authorities have been on high alert, announcing on Facebook Wednesday that thousands of forces would be deployed to secure venues.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Morsi shake hands at a joint press conference in Berlin in 2013
President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan paid Tribute to Morsi after his death was announced on Monday
Erdogan, right, and former Egyptian President Morsi together at a press conference in 2012
Mohammed Morsi: A profile of Egypt’s deposed president
Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi was buried in Cairo Tuesday, a day after he died following his collapse in court and nearly six years since his ouster by now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
Here are key dates in Egypt since the revolt which drove Morsi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak from power in February 2011.
– Revolution –
On January 25, 2011, thousands of Egyptians, inspired by the Tunisian revolt that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, protest in Cairo and elsewhere in Egypt demanding longtime dictator Mubarak’s overthrow.
On February 11, after days of vast protests centred in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, Mubarak’s newly appointed vice president Omar Suleiman announces that the president has resigned and the army is in charge.
A crackdown on the protests has left at least 850 dead.
– Islamist victory –
Islamist parties win a majority of seats at parliamentary elections between November 2011 and January 2012.
On June 30, 2012, Morsi, a senior Muslim Brotherhood leader, wins 51.7 percent of the vote to become Egypt’s first civilian, democratically elected president. He is also the first Islamist to head the country.
Egypt’s military rulers dissolve parliament in June. In August, Morsi dismisses military chief Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi and replaces him with Sisi, in a purge of top brass.
– Morsi ousted –
On July 3, 2013, following massive protests against Morsi’s divisive rule, the military led by Sisi overthrows Morsi and detains him. Morsi denounces a coup and calls on his supporters to defend his legitimacy.
On August 14, police disperse two pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo, killing about 700 people in clashes, according to official figures.
The government names the Muslim Brotherhood a ‘terrorist organisation’ in December.
– President Sisi –
Sisi is elected president with 96.9 percent of the vote in May 2014. His election comes after the approval of a new constitution bolstering the military’s powers.
In late 2015 a new parliament is elected, packed with Sisi supporters.
– Repression –
Sisi presides over a fierce clampdown. Hundreds of suspected Islamists are sentenced to death or life in prison in mass trials slammed by rights groups.
Secular opposition activists are also jailed.
Local and international rights groups accuse the regime of torture, forced disappearances, summary executions and repression of dissent.
The authorities deny the accusations, pointing to the need for stability and the fight against terrorism.
– Jihadist threat –
The country also witnesses deadly attacks, perpetrated mainly by the Islamic State group, which kills hundreds of police officers and soldiers in attacks centred on the Sinai peninsula.
On October 31, 2015, a Russian airliner carrying tourists from an Egyptian beach resort explodes after taking off, killing all 224 people on board. IS says it had planted a bomb on the plane.
On November 24, 2017, a suspected IS attack on a mosque in the Sinai leaves more than 300 dead.
More than 100 die in attacks on Christians, also claimed by the group.
In February 2018, the army launches a vast ‘anti-terrorist’ operation.
– Backing for Sisi –
In February 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin travels to Cairo for the first time in a decade and signs a deal to build the first Egyptian nuclear power plant.
In March 2015, the Obama administration lifts a partial freeze on military assistance decided after Morsi’s overthrow.
King Salman of Saudi Arabia visits Egypt in April 2016.
In April 2017, US President Donald Trump praises Sisi as the Egyptian leader visits Washington. Sisi is hosted at the White House for a second time in April 2019.
In October 2018, Sisi visits Paris, where he receives strong support from President Emmanuel Macron, who in turn visits Egypt the following January.
– Sisi boosted –
In March 2018, Sisi is re-elected with 97.08 percent of the vote. His only opponent is one of his supporters.
In April 2019, a controversial constitutional revision allowing the extension of Sisi’s presidency and strengthening his powers is approved by referendum.
– Morsi dies –
On June 17, 2019, Morsi collapses in court during a retrial over charges of collaborating with foreign powers and militant groups.
He arrives at hospital dead, according to the attorney general’s office.
Rights groups say the Islamist was denied medical treatment in detention and demand an investigation.