Egypt's former President Morsi dies after court hearing

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Egypt's former President Mohamed Morsi stands behind the bars during his trial in Cairo in this June 16, 2015 file photo. — AFP

CAIRO — Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi died on Monday aged 67 after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, authorities said.

Morsi had been in jail since being toppled by the military in 2013 after barely a year in power following mass protests against his rule.

The public prosecutor said he had collapsed in a defendants' cage in the courtroom shortly after speaking, and had been pronounced dead in hospital at 4:50 p.m. (1450 GMT). It said an autopsy had shown no signs of recent injury on his body.

Morsi was elected to power in 2012 in Egypt's first free presidential election, having been thrown into the race at the last moment by the disqualification on a technicality of millionaire businessman Khairat Al-Shater, by far the Brotherhood's preferred choice.

The stocky, bespectacled man, born in 1951 in the dying days of the monarchy, told Egyptians he would deliver an "Egyptian renaissance with an Islamic foundation".

Instead, he alienated millions who accused him of usurping unlimited powers, imposing the Brotherhood's conservative brand of Islam and mismanaging the economy, all of which he denied.

Security sources said the Interior Ministry had declared a state of alert on Monday, notably in Morsi's home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, where the body was expected to be taken for burial.

Morsi had been in court for a hearing on charges of espionage emanating from suspected contacts with the Palestinian group Hamas, which had close ties to the Brotherhood.

His body was taken to the Tora prison hospital, state television reported. — Reuters


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