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Africa

Syrian opposition and Turkish supporters mourn the death of former Egyptian President Morsi

media Deposed President Mohamed Mursi greets his lawyers and people from behind bars at a court wearing the red uniform of a prisoner sentenced to death, during his court appearance with Muslim Brotherhood members on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt REUTERS

Suppporters of Egypt's ousted President Mohammed Morsi have expressed their sympathy following his burial a day after he collapsed and died in a Cairo courtroom. This comes as the Egyptian authorities reject claims the former president was neglected in prison.

 

Update 12h20 UT: A main Syrian opposition group is mourning the death of Egypt's ousted former president, Mohammed Morsi. In a statement released this Tuesday, the Turkey-based Syrian National Coalition said that while he was president, Morsi backed Syria's popular uprising against Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

Morsi was a strong supporter of the Syrian opposition after he was elected president. Syrian activists circulated a video on Monday showing Morsi carrying a Syrian opposition flag during a rally in Egypt.

 

Meanwhile, mosques across Turkey have held funeral prayers for the former president who had close ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

 

In the Turkish capital Ankara earlier today, several hundred people held a protest outside the Egyptian Embassy, denouncing the government of incumbent Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and expressing support for Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

  Erdogan, who described Morsi as a "martyr," was also to attend a symbolic funeral prayer in Istanbul, according to his office.

 

Updated 10h10 UT

Egypt's authorities are criticizing a leading human rights advocate over comments following the courtroom death the day before of Mohammed Morsi.

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director with the Human Rights Watch, criticized the Egyptian government's "failure to allow him adequate medical care, much less family visits."

Egypt's state information service says Whitson's statements were "nothing but false claims" and reaffirm what it called HRW's tradition of "circulating lies."

The service added that a court had approved Morsi's request in November 2017 asking that he be "treated at his own expense."
 

Update 06h35 UT:  Iran has extended its condolences to the Egyptian nation over the death of the ousted former president, Mohammed Morsi.

Iran's Foreign Ministry's spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, said in a statement this Tuesday morning that, "while respecting the viewpoints of the great and brave Egyptian nation, the Islamic Republic of Iran offers its condolences to the Egyptian people, as well as Morsi's family and supporters."

 Mousavi's statement added "wishes for divine blessing and mercy" for Morsi.

Iran is an ally of Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, which is also part of Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood movement but has taken measures in recent years to reconcile with the current Egyptian authorities.

Under Morsi, Iran's president at the time, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, visited Cairo as ties between Egypt and Iran briefly improved, with Iranian tourists even visiting the country.

 

Update 06h10 UT: NGO Human Rights Watch is calling on the United Nations human rights council to investigate Morsi's death who died inside a Cairo courtroom the previous day.

The New York-based group also says that Egyptian authorities should be investigated for "their mistreatment" of Morsi, who collapsed on Monday "after years of insufficient access to medical care."

Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at HRW, says the authorities' treatment of Morsi in prison was "horrific, and those responsible should be investigated and appropriately prosecuted."

She says that "at the very least, the Egyptian government committed grave abuses against Morsi by denying him prisoners' rights that met minimum standards."

She added that Morsi death "followed years of government mistreatment, prolonged solitary confinement, inadequate medical care, and deprivation of family visits and access to lawyers."

 

Update 04h45 UT: Lawyer Abdul-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud has said Morsi's family attended funeral prayers early Tuesday in the mosque of Tora prison, then buried him in Cairo's western district of Nasr City.

He says there was heavy security at the cemetery.

 

L'ancien président égyptien Mohamed Morsi, le 5 novembre 2014 au Caire lors d'une audience de son procès. AFP PHOTO / STR

Update 20:15 UT: Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani expressed his "deep sorrow" following the sudden death of Morsi. Human Rights Watch said Morsi's death was tragic "but entirely predictable" given he was in solitary confinement, and denied medical care and family visits.

"He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted. He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he later died," said a judicial source.

Egyptian state television said that he was in court to address charges of espionage over his suspected contacts with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas.

Morsi, 67, is already serving two prison sentences including a 20-year prison sentence for the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012 and a life sentence regarding espionage and Qatar.

He has been accused of plotting terror acts and spying for Iran.

Morsi, from the Muslim Brotherhood, was Egypt’s first democratically-elected leader after Hosni Mubarak was overthrown during the 2011 uprising. His turbulent tenure lasted only one year before he was deposed by the army in July 2013.

His former Defence Minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president, carrying out a crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood supporters, with thousands still jailed and others facing the death penalty.

Since Morsi’s overthrow, an escalation in attacks against security forces in the northern Sinai Peninsula continue.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who was allied to Morsi while the Muslim Brotherhood leader was in office, called Morsi a “martyr”.

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