Egypt’s former president, Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who vowed to remove all Jews from Israel and replace them with Palestinians, collapsed in court Monday during a trial and died.
Morsi came to power in the country’s first free elections in 2012, supported by U.S. President Barack Obama, and was ousted a year later by the military and millions of protesters.
State TV said the 67-year-old Morsi had just addressed the court, speaking from the glass cage he is kept in during sessions and warning that he had “many secrets” he could reveal, a judicial official said. A few minutes afterward, he collapsed and died before he could be taken to the hospital.
Morsi has been in prison ever since the military ousted him in July 2013 and launched a massive crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. Monday’s session was part of a retrial, being held inside Cairo’s Tura Prison, on charges of espionage with the Palestinian Hamas militant group.
Morsi had been a close ally of President Obama and was defended by the Obama State Department headed by Hillary Clinton when protests began. Pro-democracy protesters were stung by a speech given in June, 2013 by the Obama’s ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson, who also defended Morsi – prompting renewed anti-US sentiment among pro-democracy and anti-Morsi protesters.
So close were the Obama administration and Morsi that protesters regularly chanted “Monica,” in reference to Monica Lewinsky with whom Clinton’s husband Bill had an affair.
President Obama was ultimately forced to retract some of his own statements that attacked the protesters and walk back others when it looked like anti-Morsi protesters would prevail.
Mohammed Sudan, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, described Morsi’s death as “premediated murder” saying that the former president was banned from receiving medicine or visits and there was little information about his health condition.
Morsi was a longtime senior figure in Egypt’s most powerful Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood. He was elected in 2012 in the country’s first free presidential election, held a year after an Arab Spring uprising ousted Egypt’s longtime leader Hosni Mubarak. His Muslim Brotherhood also held a majority in parliament.
Under the Muslim Brotherhood, attacks on the country’s Christian minorities increased including bombings, beheadings, rape and church arson.
The military, led by then-Defense Minister Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi, ousted Morsi after massive protests against the Brotherhood’s domination of power. El-Sissi was subsequently elected president and has waged a massive crackdown on Islamists and other opponents sinse.
Since Morsi’s ouster, Egypt’s government has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization and largely crushed it with a heavy crackdown. Tens of thousands of Islamist Egyptians have been arrested since 2013.
The new government has also moved closer to Israel by increasing security cooperation, sharing more intelligence to counter the terrorists that control the Gaza Strip and putting pressure on the Palestinian Authority to finally accept a peace plan to end 50 years of conflict.
Egypt, which imports most of its energy needs, is also expected to become Israel’s primary customer for natural gas discovered in the Mediterranean Sea. That discovery will make Israel a major player in energy exports as Europe and other countries look for stable energy producers.
–Metro Voice and Wire Services