Brotherhood figures to be tried for violence

The South Cairo attorney general referred several Muslim Brotherhood leaders to criminal court Wednesday on charges of inciting violence against demonstrators during and after the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.

The most notable figures charged are Saad al-Katatny, head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, Mohamed Mahdy Akef, the group’s former supreme guide, and Mohamed al-Beltagy, a former parliamentarian and influential leader.

Prosecution investigators say that Brotherhood leaders met in secret four days before the anti-Morsi demonstrations on June 30, after the presidency said the Interior Ministry and Armed Forces would not be securing the Brotherhood’s Moqattam headquarters during the protests. They allegedly decided to position armed men to protect the headquarters and fire on protesters if attacks occurred.

Eight people were killed in front of the Moqattam headquarters on June 30.

All the suspects have denied the charges, however, and said they did not attend any such meeting. Akef told prosecutors that he knew nothing about the armed men. Katatny said that he is not even a Brotherhood member.

Their accounts contradicted with a confession from one of the arrested armed man, who stated that he and 250 other people were responsible for securing the building, and that when they informed Brotherhood leaders that their ammunition had run out they got confirmation that they would received more.

Amid debate over whether the Brotherhood members’ trials are political or criminal, Nabil Fahmy, minister of foreign affairs, told the French daily Le Monde that no regime can get rid of the Brotherhood in Egypt or the Middle East.

“The state is not in the business of excluding of the Brotherhood … the current charges and trials are against figures who have incited violence or murder, and they are all criminal, not political,” Fahmy said.

The military-backed government has carried out a sweeping arrest campaign against Brotherhood leaders since Morsi’s ouster by military intervention on July 3. Among those in detention are Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie and his deputy Khairat al-Shater, as well as Morsi, who has been detained since his ouster.

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