Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has died at the age of 67 after fainting in court. Picture: SEAN GALLUP/GETTY IMAGES
Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has died at the age of 67 after fainting in court. Picture: SEAN GALLUP/GETTY IMAGES

 Cairo - Former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi died on Monday in a Cairo hospital after fainting during a session in court, judicial and security sources said.

“He was speaking before the judge for 20 minutes then became very animated and fainted. He was quickly rushed to the hospital where he later died,” a judicial source said.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan  paid tribute to Morsi, calling him a “martyr”.

“May Allah rest our Morsi brother, our martyr’s soul in peace,” said Erdogan, who had forged close ties with Morsi.

The official Al-Ahram news website also reported the death of Morsi, who was Egypt’s first democratically elected president but spent just one turbulent year in office after the 2011 uprising before the army toppled him in July 2013.

The Islamist leader has been in prison since his overthrow on July 3 2013 and on trial for several cases including for spying for Iran, Qatar and militant groups such as Hamas in the Gaza Strip. He was also accused of plotting terror acts.

Since his overthrow his former defence minister, now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, has waged an ongoing crackdown targeting his supporters from the Muslim Brotherhood with thousands jailed and hundreds facing death sentences.

The years following Morsi’s overthrow have seen a surge in bombings and shootings targeting security forces, particularly in the restive northern Sinai Peninsula, a stronghold of the Islamic State group. Morsi’s turbulent rule was marked by deep divisions in Egyptian society, a crippling economic crisis and often-deadly opposition protests.

AFP