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Ousted Pres. Burried After Death Mon.  06/18 06:24

   CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt's first democratically elected president, Islamist 
leader Mohammed Morsi, was buried under heavy security early on Tuesday, a day 
after his dramatic collapse and death inside a Cairo courtroom, his family and 
a member of his defense team said.

   Morsi's family attended funeral prayers in the mosque of Cairo's Tora 
prison, followed by the burial at a cemetery in the Egyptian capital's eastern 
district of Nasr City, said Abdul-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, a member of Morsi's 
defense team.

   Morsi's son Ahmed said security agencies refused to allow Morsi to be buried 
at the family's cemetery in his hometown in Sharqia province, and instead had 
him interred at a Cairo cemetery dedicated to prominent Islamists.

   Morsi, 67, hailed from Egypt's largest Islamist group, the now outlawed 
Muslim Brotherhood, and was elected president in 2012 in the country's first 
free elections following the ouster the year before of longtime autocrat Hosni 
Mubarak.

   The military toppled Morsi in 2013 after massive protests and crushed the 
Brotherhood in a major crackdown, arresting Morsi and many others of the 
group's leaders.

   During his years in prison, Morsi, who was known to have diabetes, was often 
held in solitary confinement and was largely barred from receiving visitors. 
His family was only allowed to visit three times. While in detention, Morsi 
continued to appear in court on a range of charges.

   In early court sessions he gave angry speeches until judges ordered him kept 
in a glass cage where they could turn off his audio.

   Morsi's Brotherhood accused the government of "assassinating" him through 
years of poor prison conditions. The group demanded an international 
investigation into Morsi's death on Monday and called on Egyptians to protest 
outside Egyptian embassies across the world.

   Late Monday, Egypt's chief prosecutor said Morsi's body would be examined to 
determine the cause of his death. State TV, citing an unnamed medical source, 
said he died after suffering a heart attack.

   Morsi collapsed just after he had addressed the court, speaking from inside 
the glass cage and warning that he had "many secrets" he could reveal, a 
judicial official said, speaking on condition of anonymity under regulations.

   In his final comments, Morsi continued to insist he was Egypt's legitimate 
president, demanding a special tribunal, one of his defense lawyers, Kamel 
Mandour told The Associated Press. State TV said Morsi died before he could be 
taken to hospital.

   There were a dozen other Brotherhood members on trial inside the glass cage, 
including some physicians who in vain tried to administer CPR, said Mandour.

   It was a dramatic end for a figure central in the twists and turns taken by 
Egypt since its "revolution" --- from the pro-democracy uprising that in 2011 
ousted Mubarak, through controversial Islamist rule and now back to a tight 
grip under the domination of military men.

   The Brotherhood won the elections held after Mubarak's fall, considered the 
first free votes the country had seen. First, they gained a majority in 
parliament, then Morsi squeaked to victory in presidential elections held in 
2012, becoming the first civilian to hold the office.

   Critics accused the Brotherhood of using violence against opponents and 
seeking to monopolize power and Islamize the state. Massive protests grew 
against their rule, until the military --- led by then-Defense Minister 
Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi --- ousted Morsi in July 2013, dissolved parliament and 
eventually banned the Brotherhood as a "terrorist group."

   In August 2013, troops descended upon protest camps filled with Morsi's 
supporters, killing hundreds in Cairo's Rabaa al-Adawiya Square and elsewhere 
in a single day.

   El-Sissi was elected president and re-elected in 2018, balloting that human 
rights groups sharply criticized as undemocratic. He has waged a ferocious 
crackdown that crushed the Brotherhood but also almost all other dissent, 
arresting tens of thousands, banning protests and silencing most criticism in 
the media.

   Since his ouster, Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders have been put on 
multiple and lengthy trials. Morsi was sentenced to 20 years in prison on 
charges of ordering Brotherhood members to break up a protest against him, 
resulting in deaths. A death sentence against him was overturned and commuted 
to life imprisonment while multiple cases are still pending. Monday's session 
was part of a retrial on charges of espionage with the Palestinian Hamas 
militant group.

   Hamas is part of the pan-Arab Brotherhood movement but has taken measures in 
recent years to reconcile with the current Egyptian authorities, removing from 
its founding charter parts that stressed explicit affiliation with the 
Brotherhood.

   At Tuesday's funeral, security agents turned reporters away from the 
cemetery, banning them from taking photographs. Reporters were also barred from 
traveling to Morsi's hometown.

   Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, another Morsi lawyer, said Morsi's imprisoned 
son, Ossama, was allowed to attend the burial. Ossama was sentenced to 10 years 
last September in a case related to the 2013 dispersal of a sit-in of Morsi's 
supporters.

   The cemetery, which holds remains of many top Brotherhood leaders, is also 
where the group's supreme guide Mahdi Akef was buried after his 2017 death in 
his prison at the age of 89.

   Most Egyptian state-owned dailies only carried brief reports on Morsi's 
death, buried in inside pages of Tuesday editions, except Al-Masry Al-Youm, 
which had a front-page report.

   Also Tuesday, Human Rights Watch criticized Egyptian authorities for failing 
to provide adequate medical care for Morsi.

   The New York-based group's Sarah Leah Whitson said Morsi's treatment in 
prison was "horrific, and those responsible should be investigated and 
appropriately prosecuted."

   "At the very least, the Egyptian government committed grave abuses against 
Morsi by denying him prisoners' rights that met minimum standards," she added.

   In audio leaked from a 2017 session of one of his trials, Morsi complained 
that he was "completely isolated" from the court, unable to see or hear his 
defense team, his eyes pained by lighting inside the cage.

   "I don't know where I am," he is heard saying in the audio. "It's steel 
behind steel and glass behind glass. The reflection of my image makes me dizzy."


(KA)

 
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