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 on Monday.
Court officials quickly ambled to Morsi’s side and gave him a few nudges with their feet; the judge discreetly punched the air and then adjourned proceedings for lunch.
Morsi’s legal team rushed to his aid, frantically trying to stuff their bill into his inside jacket pocket before calling for medical assistance.
It was widely reported in the media that Morsi had fainted on several occasions during previous hearings.
A court official stated: “He’s fainted before, trying on the old ‘dying swan act’, this time it surpassed all of our expectations.”
Egypt’s chief prosecutor said a team of forensic experts would examine Morsi’s body to determine the cause of his death.
A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office gave a brief statement:
“Clearly it’s too early to speculate but we have already ruled out six years of neglect, torture and the withdrawal of essential medical attention as factors that may have contributed towards his death.”
Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director with the Human Rights Watch, said in a tweet that Morsi’s death was “terrible but entirely predictable” given the government “failure to allow him adequate medical care, much less family visits.”
In response a spokesman for the Egyptian government stated: “Yep, that was the pretty much the plan.”