Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi
Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has been buried following his sudden death after he collapsed in a courtroom during an ongoing trial. Morsi's son, Ahmed, said in a Facebook post that his father was buried in a cemetery dedicated for the Muslim Brotherhood guides in eastern Cairo's Nasr City district after the authorities had refused to allow the former leader to be buried at the family grave in his hometown in al-Sharqiya governorate.

Morsi died on Monday after spending six years in detention under harsh conditions that included near-complete solitary confinement and denial of proper medical care. Already serving a life sentence for previous convictions, the 67-year-old collapsed in court during a session of his trial for espionage and was pronounced dead on arrival at a Cairo hospital.

Egypt's former President Mohamed Morsi, ousted by the military in 2013, only one year after the election, was the first democratically elected leader of Egypt. He was elected in the wake of Arab Springs that topped the then dictator - Hosni Mubarak. A top figure in the Muslim Brotherhood who defeated the former prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, with 51.7% of the vote, vowing that he would be inclusive and maintain Egypt’s 1979 accord with Israel. Morsi was actually the Brotherhood’s second choice; their first, Khairat al-Shati, was disqualified by the election commission for having served a prison term under Mubarak.

He sought cordial relations with the United States and maintained diplomatic ties with Israel. He developed a warm working relationship with President Barack Obama, and the two men worked together to help stop a bout of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas in the fall of 2012.

However, he was unsuccessful in maintaining the cordial relationship as well as peace and order in his own country. Soon because of his extreme Islamic policies and imposing Muslim Brotherhood’s ideologies as culture brought protestors to streets condemning him for his work as well as demanding resignation. He failed to improve the economic conditions of Egypt. Neither he could control the communal killings on Shia community nor the killings of journalists.

On June 30, 2013, there was a widespread protest by the public in the wake of recent killings. Three days later, the army suspended the constitution, announced an interim government ahead of new elections and detained Morsi, who denounced the move as a coup. Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, the army chief, was elected president in 2014 and re-elected last year in polls rights groups called "farcical".

After Morsi was removed, the Muslim Brotherhood was denounced as a terrorist group and around 800 supporters were allegedly killed by the forces of Sisi. Morsi was charged with various crimes and sought the death penalty, a move denounced by Amnesty International as "a charade based on null and void procedures". His death sentence was overturned in November 2016 and a retrial ordered. He also faced charges of endangering national security by leaking state secrets to Qatar, fraud and insulting the judiciary. After being accused of disrupting his first trial by shouting protests, Morsi was compelled to sit in a soundproof glass cage in court.

The Muslim Brotherhood said the death was a "full-fledged murder" and called for crowds to gather at the funeral. Activists and his family had long complained about his prison conditions, saying Morsi was not receiving treatment for serious health problems such as high blood pressure and diabetes and was constantly being held under solitary confinement.

Morsi and his wife had four sons, Ahmed, Omar, Osama and Abdullah, and a daughter, Shaimaa.

With inputs from The Guardian and New York Times

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