Erdogan says Egypt's former president Morsi was 'killed'

Erdogan says Egypt's former president Morsi was 'killed'
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday said his close ally Mohamed Morsi was "killed" and accused Egyptian authorities of failing to intervene to save the ex-president.

3 min read
19 June, 2019
Erodgan and Morsi formed a strong alliance during the late president's term [Getty]
Egypt’s former president and first democratically- elected president Mohamed Morsi was “killed”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday, accusing Egyptian authorities of failing to intervene to save his close ally.

"Morsi was struggling on the floor in the courtroom for 20 minutes. Authorities unfortunately did not intervene to save him," Erdogan said during a televised speech in Istanbul where he had attended a prayer for the former Egyptian leader.

"Morsi was killed, he did not die of natural causes.”

The 67-year-old former president was suffering from diabetes, hypertension, and liver disease, and was held in solitary confinement in prison for 23 hours a day while being denied medical treatment. 

Last March, a panel of British MPs warned that Morsi could die prematurely if treatment continued to be denied.

The Independent quoted Abdullah al-Haddad, whose father and brother were also on trial alongside Morsi, as saying that “no one bothered” to aid Morsi after he collapsed.

“He was left slumped for while till the guards took him out. An ambulance arrived after 30 minutes. Other detainees were first to notice his collapse, they started shouting. Some of them, who are doctors, asked the guards to let them treat him or give him first aid,” Mr Haddad told The Independent.

“Neglecting him at the beginning was deliberate. The first thing the prison guards did after detainees started shouting was to get family members out of the courtroom.”

The testimony of Mr Haddad and the anonymous activist contradict the official Egyptian government version of events, which said that Morsi “was transported immediately to hospital” after collapsing.

The United Nations yesterday called for an independent inquiry into Morsi’s death.

"Any sudden death in custody must be followed by a prompt, impartial, thorough and transparent investigation carried out by an independent body to clarify the cause of death," said Rupert Colville, the spokesman for the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights.

Erdogan forged close ties with Morsi, Egypt's first civilian president and a prominent Muslim Brotherhood member.

But Ankara's relations with Cairo ties deteriorated after the Egyptian military, then led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, ousted Morsi in 2013. Sisi then became president. 

Erdogan has sharply denounced the military takeover in Egypt and called it a "coup".

On Wednesday, he said he would follow up on the process related to Morsi's death.

"We will do whatever is needed for Egypt to be tried in international courts."

The attorney general's office in Egypt has said that Morsi was "transported immediately to the hospital", where medics pronounced him dead - a version confirmed by a judicial source.

Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Hafez said he condemned "in the strongest terms" the call by the spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, for an independent investigation into Morsi's death on Monday, with authorities accusing the United Nations on Wednesday of seeking to “politicise” the death.

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