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UN calls for through, transparent probe into Morsi’ death

NEW YORK: The United Nations has asked for a thorough and transparent investigation into the death of Egypt first democratically-elected president Mohamed Morsi in court.

The UN rights office said that the investigation must cover all aspect of his treatment during his six years’ solitary confinement in jail.

“Concerns have been raised regarding the conditions of Mr Morsi’s detention, including access to adequate medical care, as well as sufficient access to his lawyers and family …,” UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville said in a statement.

“The investigation should be carried out by a judicial or other competent authority that is independent of the detaining authority and mandated to conduct prompt, impartial and effective investigations into the circumstances and causes of his death,” he said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people across the Middle East and South Asia paid their respects to Egypt’s former president.

Egypt’s first democratically elected president was buried in a small family ceremony early on Tuesday a day after he suffered a fatal heart attack in a Cairo court, his sons said.

Morsi was overthrown on July 3, 2013, after barely in power for a year in a coup staged by current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and placed under house arrest before being moved to prison.

Morsi’s death has brought an outpouring of condolences from around the Middle East.

“I mourn, for myself and all the free people of the world, the death of a great striver on the path of freedom,” said Tawakkol Karman, joint recipient of Nobel Peace Prize.

Hundreds of mourners gathered at a local mosque in Doha to pay their respects to the former president. Khaled Meshaal, the former leader of the Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, also attended the funeral in absentia.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended a prayer service in Istanbul for the former Egyptian president.

At Istanbul’s Fatih mosque, where thousands joined in prayers, Erdogan called Morsi a “martyr” and blamed Egypt’s “tyrants” for his death, adding that he didn’t believe that Morsi died of natural causes.

“I don’t believe that this was a normal death,” Erdogan, a key supporter of Morsi, said.

The Turkish president also denounced the Egyptian authorities for burying Morsi discreetly, with only a small number of family members and confidants present.

Journalists were kept away from the burial service in Cairo, while a family request to bury him in his home town was turned down.

But mourners still gathered in the former president’s home province of Sharqiya to pay their respects.

Exiled Egyptian opposition politician Ayman Nour called Morsi “a martyr who was killed deliberately”.

Amr Darrag, a senior member of Brotherhood’s political party who also lives in exile, said: “Sisi is the murderer and there must be a transparent and independent international investigation.”

Rights bodies, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, have also called for a credible investigation into Morsi’s death.

“The government of Egypt today bears responsibility for his death, given their failure to provide him with adequate medical care or basic prisoner rights,” HRW said in a statement.

A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood group, Morsi won Egypt’s first free presidential election in 2012, a year after an uprising that toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak.

At the time of his death, Morsi, 67, faced a host of legal charges, which he, along with many human rights groups and independent observers, said were politically motivated.

Thousands of members of now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organisation, who were arrested in the crackdown following the 2012 coup, are still languishing in jails.