Egypt's ex-president Mursi buried in
Cairo, Islamists mourn
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[June 18, 2019]
By Aidan Lewis
CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt's Islamist
ex-president Mohamed Mursi was buried in a small family ceremony early
on Tuesday a day after he suffered a fatal heart attack in court, his
sons said, as supporters posted messages of grief and anger.
The first democratically elected head of state in Egypt's modern
history, who was deposed by the army in 2013, was laid to rest in Cairo
next to the graves of other leaders of the now-banned Muslim
Brotherhood, Abdullah Mohamed Mursi told Reuters.
"We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, read prayers for him
at the prison hospital", another son, Ahmed Mursi, wrote on Facebook.
The Muslim Brotherhood has described Mursi's death as a "full-fledged
murder" and called for mass gatherings to mark his passing. Egyptian
officials have denied accusations that his health was neglected.
Life appeared normal in Egypt's capital, where authorities have cracked
down on Islamists and other opponents since Mursi's overthrow. Egyptian
media, which is tightly controlled, gave the news little attention -
only one newspaper, the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm, mentioned him
on its front page.
But hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members took to the streets of
Turkey's capital and Istanbul, some of them blaming Cairo authorities
for the death.
Other former allies of Mursi and opponents of Egypt's current president,
former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, expressed their condolences on
social media, some condemning the conditions in which Mursi had been
Mursi 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.
Mursi had been sentenced to more than 40 years in prison in separate
trials, including for leading an outlawed group, spying for foreign
country and terrorism.
He and other imprisoned Brotherhood leaders have rejected the rulings
and denounced the trials as politically motivated to justify Mursi's
There was a heavy security presence on Monday night around the Cairo
prison where Mursi had been held and in Sharqiya, where security sources
said the interior ministry had declared a state of alert.
No significant increase in security in central Cairo was noticeable on
Mursi's death is a sensitive moment for Egyptian authorities. Under Sisi,
who as army chief led Mursi's ouster, they have conducted a 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.
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Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi is seen behind bars during
his trial at a court in Cairo May 8, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer
The death will 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.
Amnesty International called for an investigation. A British
parliamentary panel said last year that Mursi received inadequate
medical treatment for his diabetes and liver illness and was being
kept in solitary confinement, which they warned could put his life
Egypt's State Information Service, which liaises with the foreign
media, said Mursi had submitted his last official request to a court
regarding his health condition in November 2017, asking to be
treated at his own expense. It said the court approved the request,
and that an official report from the same year found Mursi was in
good health but suffering from diabetes.
Turkey's president, Qatar's emir and the Palestinian Islamist group
Hamas all paid tribute to Mursi and Iran expressed regret over
"With great sadness and deep sorrow I received the news of the
passing of Dr Mohamed Mursi. I ask God to accept him with his great
mercy," said former leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi.
"An independent and transparent international investigation must be
carried out to find the cause of the death," said Amr Darrag,
ex-minister of planning and international Cooperation under Mursi.
"The Egyptian people won't let this crime pass lightly even after a
while," he added.
Comments from ordinary Egyptians were polarized, with Brotherhood
supporters expressing anger at his treatment and accusing opponents
of "gloating" over his death.
Yemeni Nobel Prize winner Tawakkol Karman said: "I mourn, for myself
and all the free people of the world, the death of great striver in
the path of freedom great president Mohamed Mursi .... President
Mursi has gone and Sisi, one of the curses that befell Egypt, has
Egyptian-born leading Muslim Brotherhood cleric Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi
issued a statement mourning Mursi from his exile in Qatar, where his
presence has infuriated both Egypt and its Sunni Gulf allies.
(Reporting Amina Ismail, Ali Abdelaty, Lilian Wagdy, Ahmed Tolba,
and Babak Dehghanpisheh; Writing by Aidan Lewis and Sami Aboudi;
Editing by Samia Nakhoul and Andrew Heavens)
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