Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi was buried yesterday, as the United Nations backed calls for an independent investigation into the causes of his death after he collapsed in a Cairo courtroom.
The Islamist leader, who was overthrown in 2013 after a year of divisive rule and later charged with espionage, was buried at a cemetery in eastern Cairo’s Medinat Nasr, one of his lawyers said. The Egyptian government has not officially commented on his death.
Morsi’s death was barely mentioned in local press, which referred to him by his full name but not his position as former president. Morsi last saw his family in September 2018. A month later, one of his sons, Abdallah, was arrested.
Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud said family members had washed Morsi’s body and prayed the last rites early yesterday morning at the Leeman Tora Hospital that lies near the prison where Egypt’s first civilian president, a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member, had been held for six years in solitary confinement and deteriorating health.
The prosecutor general’s office said the 67-year-old leader had collapsed and “died as he attended a hearing” Monday over alleged collaboration with foreign powers and militant groups.
Abdel Maksoud told AFP that only around 10 family members and close Morsi confidants were present at the funeral, including himself.
According to AFP, journalists were prevented from entering the site. “Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death,” said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. He said Morsi “also appears to have been held in prolonged solitary confinement”, and that the investigation must “encompass all aspects of the authorities’ treatment of Mr. Morsi to examine whether the conditions of his detention had an impact on his death”.
The Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party accused Egyptian authorities of “deliberately killing him slowly” in solitary confinement. “They withheld medication,” it said in a statement. “They did not grant him the most basic human rights.”
In Turkey, thousands of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhoodtook to the streets of capital Ankara and Istanbul yesterday to mourn former Egyptian president Mohamed Mursi, with some chanting slogans blaming Cairo authorities for his death.