Deadly clashes in Egypt as Morsi held on murder suspicion
Deadly clashes in Egypt as Morsi held on murder suspicion
Mursi’s detention, under a court order for a renewable 15 days, further raised tensions as those applauding the decision and those demanding the Islamist leader’s reinstatement flooded parts of Cairo and other cities.
Two people were killed in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria in clashes between the rivals protesters, despite a massive police and military deployment to secure the rallies.
The Arab world’s most populous country has been convulsed by violence for the past three weeks, with some 200 people killed since Mursi’s ouster by the army on July 3, many in clashes between his Islamist supporters and his opponents.
At least 19 people were wounded in the Alexandria violence, in which riot police intervened. Ten people were wounded in clashes in Cairo, medical officials and the health ministry said.
The overwhelming number of Friday’s marches have remained peaceful, with thousands of Mursi’s supporters gathering in a north Cairo square before setting off through the streets.
At Cairo’s Tahrir Square, tens of thousands of anti-Mursi supporters gathered in response to a call by the army chief General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Egyptians to show their support for a security clampdown on “terrorism.”
The protesters waved Egyptian flags and held up posters of Sisi, who served as Mursi’s defense minister before ousting him.
A leader of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood, Essam Al-Erian, said in a statement Islamists would respond to the detention of their leader with “peaceful marches.”
The Brotherhood however reacted angrily to his detention order, saying it smacked of tactics used by the regime of Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s long-time strongman toppled in a popular uprising in 2011.
The accusations against Mursi include conspiring with Palestinian Hamas militants in attacks that killed policemen and prison breaks during the revolt against Mubarak, in which Mursi escaped along with other political inmates.
Mursi had been detained with other Muslim Brotherhood leaders overnight on January 27, 2011, hours after the Islamist group said it would join the revolt against Mubarak.
He is also accused of “premeditated murder of some prisoners, officers and soldiers, and kidnapping officers and soldiers,,” the state news agency MENA said.
Mursi is also suspected of conspiring to “storm prisons and destroy them... allowing prisoners to escape, including himself.”
Detention orders of the type ordered by the court are usually followed by moving the suspect to a prison. The military has so far kept his whereabouts secret to avoid attracting protests by his supporters.
Gehad El-Haddad, a Brotherhood spokesman, denounced the detention order, saying Mubarak’s regime was “signalling ‘we’re back in full force’.”
A court had on June 23 said Hamas militants facilitated the escape of prisoners during the tumultuous 18-day uprising that forced out Mubarak.
Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood which supports the Gaza militant group’s fight against Israel, also denounced Mursi’s detention.
“Hamas condemns this move since it is based on the premise that the Hamas movement is hostile,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.
Egypt court upholds corruption conviction of Mubarak, sons
- Saturday’s ruling by the Court of Cessation dashed any hope that Gamal Mubarak could run for public office.
- Mubarak’s two sons are currently on trial for insider trading.
CAIRO: Egypt's highest appeals court on Saturday rejected a motion by former president Hosni Mubarak and his two sons to overturn their conviction on corruption charges.
The ruling by the Court of Cessation, Egypt's final recourse for appeals in criminal cases, dashed any hope that Gamal, Mubarak's younger son and one-time heir apparent, could run for public office. A senior newspaper editor and confidant of Egypt's current president had recently suggested that banker-turned-politician Gamal may have been contemplating the move.
The Mubarak trio was sentenced to three years each for embezzling funds meant for maintenance of presidential palaces but which they spent on upgrading or building private residences. The sons were released in 2015 for time served, while their father was freed last year. They repaid the funds, a total of 125 million pounds (about $7 million).
Mubarak's sons are currently on trial for insider trading. They are free on bail after a judge on Thursday overturned a surprise Sept. 15 ruling to detain them. The case's next hearing is on Oct. 20.
The rejection of their appeal Saturday and Gamal Mubarak's subsequent ineligibility to run for office came in the wake of recent comments by the chief editor of state-run Al-Akhbar publications, Yasser Rizq, who suggested that frequent public appearances by the younger Mubarak could be a prelude to a future presidential run.
Rizq first warned Gamal Mubarak against harboring presidential ambitions in an article published in May. He repeated the warning in a television interview aired earlier this week.
"His real crime is insulting the dignity of the Egyptian people," Rizq said, alluding to Gamal's one-time intention to succeed his father. It violated the constitution and amounted to the toppling of republican rule, he explained. He said it was not improbable that he would strike a political deal with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to secure the group's return to politics in exchange for its support in a presidential bid in 2022, when President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi's second term ends.
Preventing Gamal from succeeding his father was among the main drivers of a 2011 uprising that ended Mubarak's 29-year rule, as well as the military's support for it. The years that followed saw Mubarak regime heavyweights tried on corruption or abuse of power charges. Most have since walked free, while second-string regime loyalists found their way back to public life under El-Sissi.