Egypt’s former President Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the army in 2013, has died after fainting in a courtroom, state TV says.
He fainted after a court session where he was facing charges and subsequently died, according to reports.
Morsi, 67, a senior figure in the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, became president in 2012 but was removed by the military after mass protests against his rule the following year.
The former Egyptian leader reportedly collapsed while being transported from the Tora courthouse in southern Cairo back to a nearby prison where he was being held. Authorities transferred him to a local hospital where he died. Doctors initially suspect the cause to have been a heart attack although investigations are ongoing.
Morsi was appearing in a retrial of a case against him for espionage.
He had six charges against him, including for a mass jailbreak, murder, spying for Qatar, spying for Hamas and Hezbollah, insulting the judiciary and involvement in terrorism.
Morsi became president on June 30, 2012, just 16 months after longtime leader Hosni Mubarak was forced from power after 30 years in office.
The Arab uprisings that swept across, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria after 2011 ushered in a period of profound change in the Middle East but also brought great instability.
Syria quickly turned into a bloody civil war that saw extremist groups such as ISIS emerged from the ashes of the revolution. Eight years on, President Bashar Al Assad’s brutal scorched earth campaign, backed by allies in Moscow and Tehran, has seen him cling to power and regain much of the country from a fractured and disparate rebel opposition increasingly dominated by hardliners.
In Libya, the militias that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi still rule much of the west of the country and fighting has devastated the oil-rich north African nation.
In Egypt, Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood scraped the first national elections after Mr Mubarak’s departure with 51.73 per cent of the vote – although less than half the nation turned out to cast a ballot.
However, the aspirations for a government that could lead the country’s transition quickly faded as inefficiency and ineptitude left public services in shambles.
Protesters once again took to the streets within a year and Morsi was removed by the military after mass rallies calling for new leadership.
President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who served as head of the army under Morsi, left the military, ran and won the next elections in 2014.
Who was Morsi?
Morsi was born in the village of El-Adwah in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya in 1951. He studied Engineering at Cairo University in the 1970s before moving to the US to complete a PhD.
He was chosen as the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate for the 2012 election after the movement’s preferred choice was forced to pull out. After a narrow victory, he promised to head a government “for all Egyptians”.
But critics complained he had failed to deliver during his turbulent year in office. They accused him of allowing Islamists to monopolise the political scene and mishandling the economy.
Public opposition to his government grew and millions of anti-government protesters took to the streets across Egypt to mark the first anniversary of the day he took office, on 30 June 2013.
On the evening of 3 July, the army suspended the constitution and announced the formation of a technocratic interim government ahead of new presidential elections. Morsi, who denounced the announcement as a coup, was taken into custody by the army.