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Egypt prosecutors order arrests of Islamist leaders

The Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates have called Morsi's ouster a military coup

Written by New York Times | Cairo |
July 11, 2013 1:26:50 am


Egypt’s new military-led government took further steps on Wednesday to cripple the Muslim Brotherhood in the week since the country’s Islamist president was deposed and detained,issuing formal arrest warrants for the group’s top spiritual leader and at least nine other senior figures accused of inciting deadly protests.

The general prosecutor’s office said Mohamed Badie,the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide,along with top officials in the group’s Freedom and Justice Party and allied Islamist political parties,were wanted for “planning,inciting and aiding criminal acts” outside the Republican Guard headquarters in Cairo where Mohammed Morsi,the ousted president,was believed to be held in military custody.

Soldiers and police officers killed at least 51 people and wounded hundreds early Monday near the headquarters,most of them unarmed demonstrators who had been demanding the release and reinstatement of Morsi,the first freely elected president in Egypt. The military said armed protesters instigated the violence,the deadliest since the 2011 Egyptian revolution,which overthrew Morsi’s autocratic predecessor,Hosni Mubarak.

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The Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliates have called Morsi’s ouster a military coup that has reinvigorated the security apparatus of the Mubarak era. They have rejected as lies the military’s claims that it wants to return quickly to full civilian control and create an inclusive government.

Prosecutors Tuesday said they had also ordered 200 people held in custody for at least 15 days pending further investigation into their suspected role in Monday’s mayhem and released 446 others on bail,according to Ahram Online,the website of Egypt’s leading newspaper.

At the same time,the new interim government appeared to be gaining more credibility – and generous offers of financial aid – from its autocratic Arab neighbors in the Persian Gulf who were happy to see the Muslim Brotherhood’s political ascendance blunted in Egypt. Kuwait announced it would provide an aid package worth $4 billion,adding to the $8 billion in grants,loans and fuel promised on Tuesday by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

The donations are needed urgently because the turmoil surrounding Morsi’s overthrow has pushed the teetering Egyptian economy closer to the brink of collapse.

The so-called road map,in the form of a “constitutional declaration” by the military-appointed president,elicited immediate opposition from civilian leaders across the political spectrum,including the liberals and activists who had sought the ouster of President Morsi.

The declaration,however,made clear that the government drew its authority only from the military commander who executed the takeover,Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi. The interim president,Adli Mansour,a senior judge,cited the general’s brief statement as the basis of his own authority,and in confirmation the general’s words were printed as law in the official Gazette.

“It is now officially a coup,” Nathan Brown,a political scientist specializing in Egyptian law at George Washington University,wrote in assessing the text.

‘Ousted president Morsi in safe place’

CAIRO: Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said ousted president Mohammed Morsi is in a safe place and is being treated in a “very dignified manner”. Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Atti told reporters Wednesday that no charges have been levelled against Morsi,who was ousted in popular uprising by military on July 3. However,he said “for his own safety and for the safety of the country,it is better to keep him … otherwise,consequences will be dire.” Thousands of supporters have been staging a sit-in demanding his return. AP

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