Mohamed Morsy, ousted Egyptian president, dies in court

Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, the country's first democratically-elected leader, has died, Egyptian state media reported Monday.

(CNN) — Ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy, who was the country’s first democratically elected leader, has died.

Morsy, 67, had been on trial Monday for an espionage case when he suffered a heart attack, Egypt’s state-run Al Ahram online reported.

Egypt’s public prosecution office said in statement that Morsy had been granted a request to speak before the trial ended. After a five-minute statement, the court adjourned and Morsy was brought back inside a cage inside the court, where he fell unconscious, it said.

Morsy was dead when he arrived to the hospital at 4:50 pm (10:50 a.m. ET). No apparent injuries were found on his body, according to the statement.

Morsy’s lawyer Abdel Moneim Abdel Maqsoud, who is also the lead lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood, told CNN on Monday that Morsy had closed his statement by quoting a verse of a poem that read: “My country is dear even if it oppressed me and my people are honorable even if they were unjust to me.”

Abdel Maqsoud added that Morsy had not been allowed to see his lawyers or communicate with the outside world or his family and that he was detained in solitary confinement.

On Monday evening, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reacted to the news, calling Morsy a “brother” and a “martyr,” according to state-run news agency Anadolu.

Erdgoan also tweeted about Morsy’s death, saying he had “conducted one of the biggest democratic struggles of the history.”

A polarizing figure

A strict Islamist who was educated in southern California, Morsy was voted into power in June 2012 following the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak’s longstanding rule.

A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Morsy had campaigned on appealing to the broadest possible audience.

But, during his year in power, critics say he became an authoritarian leader who forced through a conservative agenda.

In 2013, Morsy and the political wing of the Muslim Brotherhood movement were ousted in a coup, with the Muslim Brotherhood banned by the government after the military seized power and declared it a terrorist organization.

Roughly 1,000 Egyptians — many of them Morsy supporters — were killed during protests against the military government.

Following his ouster, Morsy was tried en masse with Mohamed Badie — the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood — as well as more than 100 alleged members of the outlawed group, according to state media.

In 2015, he was sentenced to death over a jailbreak during the 2011 uprising and to life in prison on espionage charges after being convicted of conspiring with Palestinian group Hamas, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and other foreign organizations.

Both of those sentences were widely criticized as political grandstanding.

Morsy was also handed a 25-year prison sentence for leaking state secrets to Qatar, and had received an additional 15-year sentence for other, lesser, charges.

In 2016, Morsy’s death sentence and life sentence were overturned.

Last year, in a report from a panel commissioned by Morsy’s family and made up of British Parliamentarians said that the conditions of his detention “would constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment,” and “could meet the threshold for torture in accordance (with) Egyptian and International law.” The panel wrote that Morsy is receiving inadequate medical care “which is likely to lead to premature death.”

On Monday, Human Rights Watch (HRW) called Morsy’s death “entirely predictable” accusing the government of failing to allow him adequate medical care while he was in prison.

In a statement on Monday, the Muslim Brotherhood said it held Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and his regime “accountable for the killing of the elected legitimate president, politically and criminally,” and demanded an independent review into the circumstances of Morsy’s death.

The group has called for demonstrations outside Egyptian embassies around the world at 10 p.m. local time (4 p.m. ET).

Egyptian state media Al-Ahram reported Monday that Morsy was regularly examined by doctors and “was treated in accordance with the law while in detention.”

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