Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsi was buried yesterday in eastern Cairo, his son said, a day after he collapsed in court and died shortly after.
Morsi was buried early in the morning alongside other senior figures of the Muslim Brotherhood, his son, Ahmed Morsi, said on his Facebook page.
The burial was attended by members of the family in Cairo’s Madinat Nasr after authorities refused to grant permission for a burial in Morsi’s home province of Sharqiya in the Nile Delta, Ahmed Morsi said.
“We washed his noble body at Tora prison hospital, performed prayers for him in the prison mosque . . . the burial was at the cemetery for Muslim Brotherhood spiritual guides,” Ahmed wrote.
Morsi’s lawyer, Abdel Moneim Abdel Maksoud, confirmed the burial took place in Al-Wafaa wa al-Amal cemetery early yesterday.
Morsi, who was a leading figure in the Brotherhood, became Egypt’s first democratically elected president in 2012, one year after the Arab Spring uprising saw the end of President Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.
He was deposed in July 2013 following mass protests and a military coup led by Egypt’s current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, after which he was immediately arrested. He had been in detention ever since.
The Brotherhood, which has since been outlawed, said Morsi’s death was a “full-fledged murder” and called on Egyptians to gather for a mass funeral.
In a statement on its website, the Brotherhood also called for crowds to gather outside Egyptian embassies around the world.
Meanwhile, observers on social media decried the apparent haste with which Morsi’s burial was carried out.
“The sudden, abrupt and restricted manner in which the Egyptian regime has enforced President #Morsi’s burial, raises even more questions regarding the circumstances of his death, and intensifies calls for an independent medical enquiry,” Anas Altikriti, founder of The Cordoba Foundation, said on Twitter.
Mahmoud Refaat, a foreign policy advisor at the European Institute for International Law and International Relations said the burial went against Egyptian tradition.
“In Egyptian tradition, which is considered quite sacred, we bury our dead during daylight hours, either after the duhr (noon) or afternoon (asr) prayers,” Refaat said on Twitter.
“It is also done where the dead was born. Forcing Morsi’s family to bury him in the middle of the night with only two of his sons present, and without his wife, only confirms that Egypt (authorities) has no honour and is being ruled by the Emirates,” he added, referring to the political ties between the government of el-Sisi and the United Arab Emirates.
Al Jazeera has not been able to verify who was present at the burial. The news of Morsi’s death quickly spread through Egypt’s prison population, sources within two prisons said.
A source at a facility in the Nile Delta, who asked not to be identified, described emotional scenes as prisoners learned about the ex-president’s demise. Speeches were given by senior prisoners, the source said, adding that some inmates were “crying as if they cried for a dear family member”.
“We cried for the symbol that was lost, and we cried of the deterioration of the prison conditions,” the prisoner said.
Grief quickly turned into anger among some of the younger inmates, the source said, adding that senior prisoners stepped in to calm the situation.
There have been reports over the years that Morsi had been mistreated and tortured in jail, with activists saying on Monday his death should be seen in the context of the Egyptian authorities’ systematic isolation and mistreatment of political detainees.