'Egypt's military rulers will be held accountable'

Muslim Brotherhood leader vows army will have to answer for "martyrs, wounded"; says peace treaty with Israel to be upheld.

January 20, 2012 21:32
2 minute read.
Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie

Mohamed Badie 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

CAIRO - The head of the Muslim Brotherhood, set to be the biggest party in Egypt's new freely elected parliament, said on Friday interim military rulers would be held accountable after handing power to civilians for any mistakes made during their time at the helm.

The military budget will also be subject to parliamentary oversight, the Brotherhood's general guide, Mohamed Badie, said in an interview with private Egyptian channel Dream TV, three days before the first session of parliament's lower house.

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The military council, which took over from Hosni Mubarak last February after the president of 30 years was ousted during 18 days of popular protests, has promised to relinquish power to civilian officials once presidential elections are completed in June. But activists fear it is actually working behind the scenes to maintain sway over Egyptian politics.

Some analysts have suggested the military will not fully abandon politics unless the Muslim Brotherhood and other prominent political parties offer guarantees that it will not face legal retribution over the killing of protesters.

Mubarak, 83, has been put on trial following he 2011 uprising, in which at least 850 people lost their lives.

Badie said it was time to work through the institutions of state and not to make an enemy of the army through the repeated protests organized by youth groups opposed to military rule.

He rejected comparisons between the military council and what he described as Mubarak's corrupt regime. But he warned that the new elected parliament would hold the military council responsible for its conduct during its interim rule, in which dozens of protesters have been killed and wounded.

"We say that we respect and appreciate the army but the military council must be held accountable for any mistakes... No one is above accountability," Badie said.

"This is a transitional period and we urge everyone to cooperate until we reach safety. Then the free, elected People's Assembly will adopt all remaining demands to ensure they are achieved. The first of your demands is for those who made mistakes to be held accountable and for the rights of the martyrs and the wounded. Those who made mistakes will be summoned by the People's Assembly and held to account."

On the foreign policy front, Badie said the Brotherhood would respect Egypt's 1979 peace treaty with Israel as it respects any international agreement, provided the Jewish state did not violate the terms of the deal.

Coming from the very top of the Islamist group, whose leaders met with senior US diplomats earlier this month, those comments are likely to reassure Washington, an important strategic ally of Cairo.

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