Egypt’s Morsi buried one day after collapsing in courtroom

Death of ousted former president likely to increase pressure on Cairo over human rights record

People hold a photograph of former  Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi during prayers for him in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday, while his funeral was taking place in Egypt. Photograph: Erdem Sahin/EPA

People hold a photograph of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi during prayers for him in Istanbul, Turkey, on Tuesday, while his funeral was taking place in Egypt. Photograph: Erdem Sahin/EPA

 

Egypt’s former president Mohamed Morsi was buried in a restricted family ceremony in Cairo early on Tuesday, a day after he suffered a fatal heart attack in court, his son said, as tributes poured in on social media.

The first democratically elected head of state in Egypt’s modern history, who was deposed by the army in 2013, was laid to rest next to the graves of other leading members of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, Ahmed Morsi said in a Facebook post.

“We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, read prayers for him at the prison hospital”, Ahmed Morsi wrote. Authorities had refused to let the family bury Mr Morsi in his home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, his son added.

Mr Morsi died on Monday after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges, authorities and a medical source said. The 67-year-old had been in jail since being toppled after barely a year in power, following mass protests against his rule.

There was a heavy security presence on Monday night around the Cairo prison where Mr Morsi had been held and in Sharqiya, where security sources said the interior ministry had declared a state of alert.

There was no noticeable increase in security in central Cairo on Tuesday morning. Egyptian media, which is tightly controlled, gave the news little attention.

Mr Morsi’s death is likely to increase international pressure on the Egyptian government over its human rights record, especially conditions in prisons where thousands of Islamists and secular activists are held.

Crackdown

It is also a sensitive moment for Egyptian authorities. Under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who as army chief led Morsi’s ouster, they have conducted a relentless crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood and its followers, but say the group presents a continuing security threat. The Brotherhood says it is a non-violent movement.

Just one of the major daily newspapers, the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm, put the story on its front page, with other newspapers ignoring the news or carrying a small item on inside pages with no mention that Mr Morsi had been president.

Former allies of Mr Morsi and opponents of Mr Sisi expressed their condolences in social media posts, some condemning the conditions in which Mr Morsi had been held.

“With great sadness and deep sorrow I received the news of the passing of Dr Mohamed Morsi. I ask God to accept him with his great mercy,” said former leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi.

Turkey’s president, Qatar’s emir and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas all paid tribute to him and Iran expressed regret over Morsi’s death.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, while respecting the views of the great and brave nation of Egypt, offers its sympathies over the death of Dr Mohamed Morsi to the Egyptian people, his family and his loved ones,” a statement from the foreign ministry’s spokesman said. – Reuters