Egypt’s former President Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military in 2013, has died after fainting in a courtroom, state TV says.
A former top figure in the now-banned Islamist movement Muslim Brotherhood, Morsi was in court for a hearing on charges of espionage. He was 67.
Morsi was ousted by the army in July 2013 following mass protests a year after he took office as the country’s first democratically elected leader.
He had remained in custody since then.
After his removal from power, Egyptian authorities launched a crackdown on his supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The hearing in the capital, Cairo, was related to charges of espionage emanating from suspected contacts with the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, according to state television.
Morsi’s youngest son Abdullah has complained repeatedly about his father’s treatment.
He told AP news agency in October last year that his father was being held under constant solitary confinement and denied medical treatment for serious conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Five months earlier, Abdullah had warned in a Washington Post op-ed that the Egyptian authorities were “doing this on purpose, since they want to see him dead ‘from natural causes’ as soon as possible”.
Who was Morsi?
Morsi was born in the village of El-Adwah in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya in 1951. He studied Engineering at Cairo University in the 1970s before moving to the US to complete a PhD.
He was chosen as the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate for the 2012 election after the movement’s preferred choice was forced to pull out.
Critics complained that, as Egypt’s president, he had failed to deliver during his turbulent year in office, accusing him of allowing Islamists to monopolise the political scene and mishandling the economy.
Public opposition to his government grew and millions of anti-government protesters took to the streets across Egypt to mark the first anniversary of the day he took office, on 30 June 2013.
On the evening of 3 July, the army suspended the constitution and announced the formation of a technocratic interim government ahead of new presidential elections. Morsi, who denounced the announcement as a coup, was taken into custody by the army.