Alwaght- Mohammed Mahdi Akef, a former supreme guide of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, died in a Cairo hospital on Friday at the age of 89.
Akef had been taken to central Cairo’s al-Qasr al-Aini hospital following a rapid deterioration of his health, Brotherhood lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud said in a press statement.
Born in 1928, Akef served as the Brotherhood’s seventh supreme guide, assuming the post following the death of his predecessor, Mamoun al-Hudaibi, in 2004.
After Akef resigned from the post in 2010, he was replaced by Mohamed Badie, the group’s current leader, who has remained in prison in Egypt since that country’s 2013 military coup.
Akef was slapped with a raft of criminal charges following the 2013 coup against Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically-elected president and a leading Muslim Brotherhood member.
Sentenced to 25 years behind bars in a court ruling that was later overturned, Akef was in the middle of a retrial at the time of his death.
Akef’s daughter Alia confirmed her father’s death in a Facebook post made earlier Friday saying, “My father is in the care of Allah. We all come from Allah and we will all return to Allah.”
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has engaged in the toughest brutal crackdown on Muslims Brotherhood members in Egypt’s modern history since toppling Morsi in June 2013 when Sisi was still head of the armed forces. Sisi was later elected president in sham elections and continues his rule with an iron fist and is intolerant to any form of opposition.
Shortly after Morsi's removal, the military-backed regime embarked on a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood supporters, many of whom who continued to stage counter protests and express their support for Morsi.
And in a widely criticized mass trial, Egypt sentenced hundreds of alleged supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death - "the biggest mass sentence given in modern Egyptian history", according to Amnesty International. The movement, which is Egypt's oldest, most influential Islamic movement, was also banned and had its assets seized before being declared a "terrorist organization" by the Sisi regime.
Rights groups say the army’s crackdown on the supporters of Morsi has led to the deaths of over 1,400 people and arrest of 22,000 others, including some 200 people who have been sentenced to death in mass trials.