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Mursi, Who Ruled Egypt Between Two Revolts, Dies in Court....

Mursi, Who Ruled Egypt Between Two Revolts, Dies in Court

Mohamed Mursi, a bespectacled Muslim Brotherhood foot-soldier elevated from obscurity to become Egypt’s first freely elected civilian president, has died. He was 67.
Incarcerated since his ouster in 2013, Mursi collapsed and died during a trial that sought to cast elements of the popular revolt that brought him to power as a foreign conspiracy. His death in a court room, defending his record, symbolized the grubby end of the spirit of change briefly ignited by the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings
Egypt’s public prosecutor said there was no evidence of marks or injuries to Mursi’s body but investigators would conduct a full autopsy and examine courthouse video for evidence. State-run Ahram Gate said he died of a heart attack. He was buried hours later, without fanfare and in the presence of only his wife, children and a fellow prisoner.
Amnesty International urged a probe into his death, while other rights advocates seized on it as proof authorities were denying him proper medical care. Egypt’s State Information Service said Mursi’s last request for medical care was made in 2017 and approved by the court.
A former opposition lawmaker, Mursi was elected to the presidency in June 2012, less than 18 months after joining a jail break amid the chaos of the uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s three-decade rule.
While he sought to project himself as the “voice for all Egyptians,” Mursi spent much of his turbulent year-long presidency unable to emerge from the shadow of top Brotherhood officials, who were viewed as the nation’s real power brokers.
His fall was as crushing as his rise to power was stratospheric. Ousted by his army chief -- the future President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi -- Mursi languished in prison after being convicted of espionage and conspiring with foreign militants in the prison breakout, charges that his supporters say were unfounded.
Mohamed Mursi during his trial in Cairo in 2016.
Photographer: Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images
He was held in solitary confinement for almost six years, placing a considerable strain on his mental and physical well-being and violating the absolute prohibition against torture and other ill-treatment under international law,” Amnesty said.
The Muslim Brotherhood, a near-century-old movement that seeks to build societies centered on Islamic law, faced a sweeping crackdown after Mursi’s removal, with security forces killing hundreds of its supporters and imprisoning thousands. Hundreds of Islamists were subsequently sentenced to death or lengthy jail terms in mass trials that rights groups and Sisi critics have decried as politically-motivated.
“There’s no way to divorce Mursi’s fate from that of the Brotherhood,” said Hani Sabra, founder of the Alef Advisory consultancy in New York. “They were one and the same. He went the way of the Brotherhood.”
Mursi’s journey to the presidency was a stark contrast to his humble start.
Born on Aug. 8, 1951, in Sharqiya province, his father was a farmer and his mother a housewife. He moved to Cairo in the late 1960s to study engineering. He earned a doctorate from the University of Southern California. Mursi worked with NASA in the early 1980s helping to develop space shuttle engines. He later returned to Egypt where he taught at Zagazig university.
Mursi was never meant to be president. He was fielded by the Muslim Brotherhood in the country’s first presidential elections after the 2011 revolt after their original candidate was disqualified.
His rule became synonymous with a dangerous polarization as violent protests pit his Islamist backers against secularists and youth activists who played a key role in the uprising. Struggling to build support with a bureaucratic and security establishment suspicious of Islamists, Mursi issued a constitutional decree in November 2012 that effectively granted him absolute power and the ability to direct the judiciary.
That move, which he later rescinded, put him on a collision course with Egypt’s judiciary -- a battle that ultimately saw the Islamist-dominated elected parliament disbanded by court order.
Mursi was also seen by many as ill-suited to correct decades of corruption under Mubarak, when the establishment relied on the might of security forces to keep it in power.
Power outages were rife and a gasoline shortage emerged almost overnight, further stoking public rage that would reach a peak a year after his election. His supporters blamed those failures on so-called deep state institutions plotting to undermine his rule.

Foreign Reaction

Foreign leaders who’d had ties to Mursi and his Islamist movement were quick to express their shock.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a critic of Mursi’s overthrow, described him on Twitter as a “martyr.” Rashid Ghannouchi, head of the Brotherhood-aligned Ennahda party in Tunisia, said the group hoped his passing would lead to the release of political prisoners and an open dialogue.
Mursi’s health had reportedly deteriorated in prison, where he faced conditions harsher than those of his predecessor, Mubarak, who spent much of his incarceration in a military hospital.
While the Brotherhood has been driven underground, analysts say his death could again ignite tensions. Two now-exiled ministers from Mursi’s government said his death was “tantamount to state-sponsored murder”.
For the Brotherhood, “he is still the legitimate president,” said Gamal Eid, head of the Cairo-based Arab Network for Human Rights
Cairo - anti Mursi demonstrations
A protester in Cairo holds a photo of Mursi