Mohammed Morsi swiftly buried after being denied public funeral in hometown

Leila Molana-Allen
A man holds up an image of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi during a funeral prayer in absentia - Anadolu

Egypt’s ousted president Mohamed Morsi was buried this morning at a small family ceremony in Cairo after authorities refused permission for a burial in his home province of Sharqiya.

Morsi, who was deposed in a 2013 military coup after becoming the nation’s first democratically elected president, collapsed and died in court on Monday evening after suffering a fatal heart attack.

He was facing several long-running prosecutions stemming from his year-long reign.

The 67-year-old was buried at 5am on Tuesday next to the graves of other leaders of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

The ceremony took place with just five family members in attendance.

“The state wants to avoid this becoming a catalyst for any kind of mobilisation,” said Tim Kaldas of the Tahrir Institute for Middle East politics. “That was the point of burying him so quickly, and in a place that’s harder to turn into a pilgrimage site.”

Mohammed Morsi pictured here in 2014 Credit: Ahmed Almalky/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The interior ministry declared a state of emergency in Sharqiya following Morsi’s death and there was increased security around the Cairo prison where he was held on Monday evening. By Tuesday, however, the police presence appeared normal.

The Muslim Brotherhood responded to Morsi’s death with a call for protests at Egyptian embassies around the world.

But the likelihood of street protests in Egypt itself is low given a 2013 law requires permits for any demonstration and the Muslim Brotherhood, as a banned organisation, cannot apply.

Human rights organisations have accused the Egyptian authorities of keeping Morsi in inhumane conditions in prison and refusing him treatment for diabetes.

The former president was held in solitary confinement for most of his six years in prison, which amounts to torture under international standards.

“Egyptian authorities have shamefully and unlawfully treated former President Morsi for years while in detention, denying him not only due process rights but also critical access to medical care,” said Michael Page of Human Rights Watch.

The government has promised an investigation into Morsi’s death, but experts say such internal reviews rarely yield results.

“It’s a delaying tactic until the story ceases to be newsworthy and they hope people will lose interest,” Mr Kaldas told The Telegraph. “The state has sought to erase [Morsi] as they have sought to erase the entire revolution, and to some extent they might succeed.”

Morsi’s death was not featured on the front pages of Egypt’s tightly state-controlled media. Where stories did appear, they did not refer to him as a former president of the country.