Egypt orders arrest of Muslim Brotherhood leader

Egyptian's prosecutor's office orders arrest of Badie, charging Muslim Brotherhood with inciting violence.

July 11, 2013 02:49
The supreme guide of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie

Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Egypt’s prosecutor ordered the arrest on Wednesday of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, charging them with inciting violence in a clash that saw troops shoot dead 55 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

According to the Egypt Independent, the Brotherhood announced it would hold a million-man march on Friday in support of Morsi.

“We will hold marches every Friday for President Morsi to be reinstated,” Brotherhood spokesman Gehad el-Haddad said.

On Twitter, Haddad wrote that someone had filed treason charges against him, accusing him of conspiring to bring down the state.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders were charged with inciting violence in Monday’s shootings, which began before dawn when, according to the Brotherhood, its followers were peacefully praying.

The army says terrorists provoked the shooting by attacking troops.

Charges were announced against Mohamed Badie, head of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as his deputy, Mahmoud Ezzat, and party leaders Essam el-Erian and Mohamed el-Beltagi. Khairat el-Shater, another senior leader, was apprehended last week.

The prosecutor also ordered 206 Brotherhood activists arrested after Monday’s violence to be detained for a further 15 days on accusations of involvement in the killings. It released 464 others on bail of about $300 each.

Meanwhile, Kuwait promised Egypt $4 billion in cash, loans and fuel on Wednesday, a day after Saudi Arabia pledged $5b. and the United Arab Emirates offered $3b.

The United States plans to deliver four more F-16 fighter jets to Egypt in the coming weeks, US defense officials told Reuters on Wednesday, in spite of the militarybacked overthrow of the country’s elected president.

“There is no current change in the plan to deliver F-16s to the Egyptian military,” one US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The White House said on Wednesday it will take time to determine whether the Egyptian military’s removal of Morsi constituted a coup, and called on the military to exercise restraint.

“We are evaluating how the authorities are responding to and handling the current situation,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters when asked whether the administration was any closer to making a decision about how to describe Morsi’s removal.

The White House also voiced confidence in the US ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, who has come under fire for criticism she made of planned rallies against the Muslim Brotherhood before the military takeover in Egypt a week ago.

Patterson’s remarks were covered extensively by local media and denounced by Egyptian opposition leaders, who accused her of interference in the country’s internal affairs.

At his daily news briefing, Carney said Patterson was “absolutely” seen as an effective advocate for US policy in Egypt.

Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour met on Tuesday with a delegation of political activists and youths to discuss the current situation, according to the Egyptian State Information Service. The delegation announced it would travel to the US to present its side of what happened when Morsi was removed from power.

Egypt’s foreign minister expressed “strong disapproval” over Iran’s reactions to Morsi’s toppling, said a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry on Wednesday. The statement called on Iran to “focus on its own internal and external challenges instead of meddling in other countries’ internal issues.”

Iran had called Morsi’s removal “unacceptable.”

According to the Ahram Online report, the Foreign Ministry also officially rejected the African Union’s suspension of Egypt’s membership, announced two days after Morsi’s ouster.

Despite the subsequent violence, Egypt’s interim authorities are proceeding with the army’s “road map” to restore civilian rule. On Tuesday, they named 76-year-old economist Hazem el-Beblawi acting prime minister.

Beblawi told Reuters he would start selecting ministers, and would begin by meeting liberal politicians Mohamed ElBaradei and Ziad Bahaa el-Din.

ElBaradei, a former UN diplomat, has been named vice president. Bahaa el-Din, a former head of Egypt’s investment authority, has been touted for a senior post. Both are prominent figures in the National Salvation Front, the main secularist group that led protests against Morsi.

They also support a stalled $4.8b. loan deal with the International Monetary Fund, which would require Egypt to make politically painful reforms to subsidies for food and fuel that support its 84 million people but drain its finances.

Beblawi agreed that it would be a challenge to find a cabinet line-up with universal support.

“I don’t believe that anything can have unanimous approval,” he told Reuters.

The acting prime minister has indicated he would be open to offering cabinet posts to Islamists, including Brotherhood figures. The Brotherhood says it will have nothing whatsoever to do with a government of what it calls a “fascist coup.”

The promised aid from the Gulf states will go a long way to easing a deep economic crisis that had driven Egypt’s finances to the brink during two-and-a half years of instability since autocrat Hosni Mubarak was swept from power.

The funds will also reduce the incentive for Egypt to make the reforms the IMF says are needed to stabilize public finances, draw investment and rekindle economic growth.

The National Salvation Front removed its objection to the interim constitution on Wednesday.

The Islamist Nour party officially withdrew from politics in response to Monday’s violence but has said it does not object to Beblawi’s appointment and will assist his government.

Nour spokesman Nader Bakkar said on Wednesday the group would not accept posts in the new cabinet but would offer “consent and advice to help the cabinet pass through the transition period as soon as possible and with minimum damages.”

Bakkar added that his party was “waiting to help.”

“We are ready to advise, but for the time being we still take the decision not to participate in the political process until the judiciary committee gives its report about what happened [on Monday],” he said.

Bloodshed has abated since that incident, which apart from a 2012 soccer stadium riot, was the deadliest since Mubarak’s fall.

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