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Mohamed Morsi

On 16 May 2015, Cairo's criminal court issued a death sentence to ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and 105 other co-denfendants on charges of endangering national security by leaking state secrets to Qatar and escaping from prison in a case known as the Wadi Natroun jailbreak. Morsi had repeatedly denied the charges. Morsi's case was referred to Egypt's grand mufti, the country's top religious leader, to either approve or commute the sentences, though his opinion is non-binding.

Mohamed Morsi [aka Mohammad Mohamed Morsy al-Ayat / Mohammed Mursi] was born on August 8, 1951 at Sharkia, Egypt, the talented son of a peasant farmer. He received a Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Engineering from Cairo University in 1975 and 1978, and obtained a Ph.D. in Engineering from the University of Southern California in 1982. He specialized in research in the fields of industry and NASA development studies to upgrade the engine of the space shuttle in the early 1980s. Morsy was an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge from 1982 to 1985, and a Professor at Zaqaziq University from 1985 to 2010, where he served as head of the engineering department.

Morsi became ideologically attracted to the politics of the Muslim Brotherhood in the mid-1970s, becoming an official member in 1979. He joined the group’s religious department in 1979. In 1992, he became a member of the group’s newly-formed political department. In 1995, he became a member of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau, the group's highest decision-making body. Morsy was chosen as a member of the Zionist resistance committee in Sharqeya Governorate and a member of the International Conference for political parties and powers and professional syndicates. He is also a funder member in the Egyptian committee for combating the Zionist project.

He served as a Member of Parliament from 2000 to 2005, during which time he presented the most famous inquest in the parliament related to the Upper Egypt train accident; on the next day government papers praised this action. He was selected globally as the best parliament member during the period 2000-2005. Morsi spent seven months in jail after being arrested in May 2006 – along with dozens of other Brotherhood members – for supporting a group of reformist judges who had staged demonstrations against the fraud that had accompanied the 2005 elections.

He was a co-founder of the National Front for Change (‘Kefaya’) along with former prime minister Aziz Sedki in 2004, and also participated in the establishment of the National Assembly for Change in 2010 with reform activist Mohamed ElBaradei. In the final months of the Mubarak regime, Morsi co-directed a Brotherhood campaign – dubbed the Political Parties Dialogue Initiative – aimed at opening dialogue with various political opposition parties and movements. Morsy was a member of the Guidance Bureau of the Muslim Brotherhood until the foundation of the Freedom and Justice Party in 2011, and was President of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) since April 30, 2011. He was elected by the MB's Guidance Office to be the first president of the new party.

On 17 April 2012 Egypt's electoral commission confirmed the disqualification of 10 candidates from next month's presidential election, ending the candidacies of Muslim Brotherhood chief strategist Khairat el-Shater. The Islamist movement still had a back-up candidate in the presidential race - Mohammed Morsi [Mohammed Mohammed Morsi Essa Al-Ayyat], Chairman of Egypt’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) — the political party of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest party in the Egyptian Parliament.

Morsy was elected President of the Arab Republic of Egypt on June 24, 2012 with 51.73 % as the first elected president after the January 25 Revolution. President Mohamed Morsy took the constitutional oath on June 30,2012 before the Supreme Constitutional Court as the first elected president of the Arab Republic of Egypt after the January 25th Revolution.

Morsi's brand of conservative Islam makes him popular with Brotherhood members and sympathisers who would have voted for conservatives such as El-Shater or Salafist candidate Hazem Abu Ismail – both of whom were ultimately disqualified from the race. He was particularly popular with Islamist voters, who consider renegade Islamist candidate Abdel-Moneim Abul-Fotouh too liberal on social issues. Critics see him as a Brotherhood functionary who shows little charisma, a quality also conspicuously lacking in his predecessor Mubarak whose dour approach contrasted with the political risk-taker Anwar Sadat and Gamal Abdel Nasser whose eloquence gripped the Arab world.

Morsi visited Iran on 30 August 2012, the first visit by an Egyptian leader since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Morsi's trip broke an alienation dating back to Egypt's recognition of Israel and its welcome to Iran's deposed Shah. The visit was pegged to the technical point of handing over the rotating leadership of the Non-Aligned Movement. And there was no word of when and if full diplomatic relations will be restored. But the symbolism concerned countries trying to isolate Iran - in particular, Egypt's long-time ally the United States.

In the first five months since his election, Morsi tried to present a reinvigorated Egypt to the world, traveling around the region and as far afield as China and the United States. With his mediation in the Israeli Gaza aerial conflict, Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi faced a high profile test of his presidency. Egypt's first Islamist president had been carrying out a delicate balancing act, showing solidarity with the Muslim Brotherhood's religious and political offspring, the Hamas leaders of Gaza, while portraying himself as a reliable broker for Israel and the West.

Morsi had a difficult first year, and his opponents call for it to be his last. Morsi took the stage in Cairo's Tahrir Square in June 2012 as a jubilant crowd celebrated the nation's first freely elected leader. By June 2013, crowds on Tahrir, the heart of Egypt's revolution two years earlier, called for him to step down. Opponents charge he failed to create an inclusive government and presided over a catastrophic weakening of the state.

Morsi summed up his first year in power by admitting to some mistakes. But he devoted much of a speech in late June 2013 reviewing his tenure to pointing out what a mess he inherited. His supporters agree, pointing to the stagnation and corruption of nearly 30 years under deposed President Hosni Mubarak. And they're keen to remind others of perhaps his biggest accomplishment.

"We already passed a very hard period," said Mohamed Soudan, the foreign secretary of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political wing from which Morsi hailed. "We already have a civilian country. We don't have a military country anymore in Egypt and this is a very good point to Dr. Morsi. He made it in 40 days." Morsi's sidelining of Egypt's powerful generals in 2012 was hailed by many at the time. But one year later, some of those same people welcomed the military's announcement it could intervene if the situation spiraled out of control.

On 3 July 2013, after refusing to comply with an ultimatum to resign issued by the Egyptian military, President Mohamed Morsi was removed from power. The military said it had sought to facilitate a negotiated settlement in June 2013 and had met with President Morsi numerous times, blaming his intransigence for their decision to issue the ultimatum and proceed with their own roadmap for resolving the political crisis. The military's announcement did not clarify what it intended to do with President Morsi, who appeared to go into hiding. President Morsi later issued a statement from an undisclosed location calling on his supporters to resist the coup peacefully. President Morsi had previously stated that he would resist any attempt by the military to depose him at all costs, including his life, and continued after the military's announcement to declare that his government had been legitimate and constitutional.

Morsi was tried in several different cases. The former president remained in jail, facing a death sentence and charges that ranged from espionage, leaking intelligence information, collaborating with foreign forces to insulting the judiciary and freeing Islamists from jail in 2011. Amnesty International described Egypt's judicial system as "horrendously broken" and described death sentences handed out to Morsi and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood in previous trials as a "vengeful march to the gallows."

In a report released on March 28, 2018, a panel of British MPs and international lawyers said Morsi's conditions of imprisonment and inadequate medical care would likely lead to his "premature death". Morsi had a history of health issues, including diabetes and liver and kidney disease. He had suffered from medical neglect during his imprisonment, compounded by the poor conditions in jail.

Morsi 17 June 2019 after appearing in court in Cairo. The 67-year-old died after fainting during the court session in the Egyptian capital. "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.

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