June 19, 2019 / 1:59 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-Turkey to push for trial of Egypt government over Mursi death

(Updates with comments from Erdogan, background, details)

ANKARA, June 19 (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday vowed to try to ensure the Egyptian government is tried in international courts for the death of former president Mohamed Mursi, who suffered a fatal heart attack in a Cairo court earlier this week.

“Muhammed Mursi flailed on the courtroom floor for 20 minutes and the authorities did not help him. This is why I say Mursi did not die, he was murdered,” Erdogan told supporters at an election rally in Istanbul.

“We, as Turkey, will follow this issue and do everything possible for Egypt to be tried in international courts for Mursi’s death,” he said, calling on the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation to take action towards this end.

He spoke a day after he called Mursi a “marytr” and said he did not believe the former president died due to natural causes.

Mursi, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood Islamist group which is now banned in Egypt, died on Monday after collapsing in a Cairo court while on trial on espionage charges.

The 67-year-old - the first democratically elected head of state in Egypt’s modern history - had been in jail since the army commanded by Egypt’s current president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi toppled him in 2013 after barely a year in power following mass protests against his rule.

Erdogan’s Islamist-rooted AK Party supported Mursi’s short-lived Egyptian government, and many Brotherhood members and supporters have fled to Turkey since its activities were banned in Egypt.

Erdogan added he would raise the issue at the G20 summit in Japan at the end of the month.

Rights groups have called for an investigation into Mursi’s death and raised questions about his treatment in prison. Egypt’s government has dismissed accusations that he was badly treated.

Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Writing by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Jonathan Spicer, William Maclean

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