Head of Muslim Brotherhood Arrested in Egypt
The head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, was arrested in Nasr City, northeast Cairo, in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
The Islamist organisation’s top leader was charged with ‘inciting the murder of protesters’ in July, and is now expected to stand trial on 25th August alongside two of his deputies.
The arrest marks a major landmark in the interim government’s continuing crackdown against the Muslim Brotherhood, who are still calling for fresh protests against the government. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been protesting since the democratically elected president and Brotherhood member Mohammed Mursi was toppled from power in a popular military coup at the start of July. Last week a joint police and military operation to clear two protest camps in Cairo led to a bloodbath, with hundreds killed.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Monday that Egyptian authorities must expand the ‘political space’ for the Muslim Brotherhood “because their political space has been very limited.” The Muslim Brotherhood is a purely political Islamist organisation which renounced violence as a tool to achieve their goals years ago, but many fear that amidst the continuing crackdown Egypt’s Islamists could become disillusioned with the political process and turn to violence and terrorism instead.
Ban Ki-moon also called for Egyptian authorities to released Mohammed Mursi, who has been held in custody since his fall from power. Mursi is facing a range of charges including conspiring with Palestinian group Hamas and committing murder during his escape from prison during the 2011 revolution against dictator Hosni Mubarak.