Egypt TV says ousted president Morsi dies in court

CAIRO (AP) — Egypt's former president, Mohammed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood leader who rose to office in the country's first free elections in 2012 and was ousted a year later by the military, collapsed in court during a trial and died Monday, state TV and his family said.

The 67-year-old Morsi had just addressed the court, speaking from the glass cage he is kept in during sessions and warning that he had "many secrets" he could reveal, a judicial official said. A few minutes afterward, he collapsed, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

State TV said Morsi died before he could be taken to the hospital.

Morsi has been in prison undergoing multiple trials ever since the military ousted him in July 2013 and launched a massive crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. Monday's session was part of a retrial, being held inside Cairo's Tura Prison, on charges of espionage with the Palestinian Hamas militant group.

Morsi's son, Ahmed, confirmed the death of his father in a Facebook post.

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CAIRO, EGYPT - JUNE 02: Former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi gestures as he stands inside the defendants' cage in a courtroom during his trial in Cairo, Egypt, on June 02, 2015. An Egyptian court postponed Tuesday the verdict in former President Mohamed Morsi's jailbreak and espionage cases to June 16. Last month, the court had asked for the opinion of Egypts highest religious authority on death sentences it issued against Morsi and 105 co-defendants who were accused of taking part in a mass jailbreak during Egypt's 2011 uprising that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak. (Photo by Mohamed Mahmoud/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A Palestinian boy shouts slogans during a rally near the Rafah border between southern Gaza Strip and Egypt on February 5, 2015 to condemn the decision of an Egyptian court to ban the armed wing of Palestinian Islamist movement. Since Egypt's military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, the authorities have accused Hamas of aiding jihadists who have waged a string of deadly attacks on security forces in the Sinai Peninsula. AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images)
Egyptian protesters take part in a protest in Tahrir Square to call for the fall of Islamist President on January 24, 2012 in Cairo. Police clashed with protesters in Cairo earlier, on the eve of the the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, as they tried to dismantle a security barrier and called for the fall of President Mohamed Morsi. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
An Egyptian protester wears a mask of the anonymous movement during a protest in Tahrir Square to call for the fall of Islamist President on January 24, 2012 in Cairo. Police clashed with protesters in Cairo earlier, on the eve of the the second anniversary of the uprising that overthrew Hosni Mubarak, as they tried to dismantle a security barrier and called for the fall of President Mohamed Morsi. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED (Photo credit should read MOHAMMED ABED/AFP/Getty Images)
Egyptian chief electoral officer Ayman Abbas speaks during a press conference in Cairo on January 8, 2015, announcing the date of parliamentary elections. Egypt is to hold a parliamentary election in stages from March 21 to May 7, organisers said, its first since the July 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi. AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
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Mohammed Sudan, leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in London, described Morsi's death as "premeditated murder" saying that the former president was banned from receiving medicine or visits and there was little information about his health condition.

"He has been placed behind glass cage (during trials). No one can hear him or know what is happening to him. He hasn't received any visits for a months or nearly a year. He complained before that he doesn't get his medicine. This is premediated murder. This is slow death."

The judicial official said Morsi had asked to speak to the court during the session. The judge permitted it, and Morsi gave a speech saying he had "many secrets" that, if he told them, he would be released, but he added that he wasn't telling them because it would harm Egypt's national security.

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry did not answer calls seeking comment.

Morsi was a longtime senior figure in Egypt's most powerful Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood. He was elected in 2012 in the country's first free presidential election, held a year after an Arab Spring uprising ousted Egypt's longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak. His Muslim Brotherhood also held a majority in parliament.

The military, led by then-Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, ousted Morsi after massive protests against the Brotherhood's domination of power. El-Sissi was subsequently elected president and has waged a massive crackdown on Islamists and other opponents sinse.

Since Morsi's ouster, Egypt's government has declared the Brotherhood a terrorist organization and largely crushed it with a heavy crackdown. Tens of thousands of Egyptians have been arrested since 2013, mainly Islamists but secular activists who were behind the 2011 uprising.

He has been sentenced to 20 years after being convicted of ordering Brotherhood members to break up a protest against him, resulting in deaths. An earlier death sentence was overturned. Multiple cases are still pending.

Morsi was held in a special wing in the sprawling Tora detention complex nicknamed Scorpion Prison. Rights groups say its poor conditions fall far below Egyptian and international standards.

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