Jailed leaders of Egypt's main Islamic opposition group have for the first time have accused the government of politicizing the army by using military tribunals to try its opponents, according to a statement released Sunday.
The members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who are all on trial in a military court on charges of money laundering and supporting terrorism, said that the army should be outside the political rivalry of the government and its opponents calling for reform.
"The armed forces belong to the Egyptian people and not to the ruling party. This party has no right to jeopardize the great stature of the armed forces by making them a part of political rivalries or an instrument to crackdown on its opponents," said the statement faxed to the Associated Press.
The statement and its accusations of President Hosni Mubarak using the army for political purposes comes at a particularly sensitive time for Egypt as speculation is rife about the health of the 79-year-old leader and whether his son will succeed him.
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