News / Middle East

Egyptian Prosecutor Orders Arrests of Activists

A man standing in front of Moqattam mosque takes a photo near the Muslim Brotherhood's national headquarters in Cairo's Moqattam district March 22, 2013.A man standing in front of Moqattam mosque takes a photo near the Muslim Brotherhood's national headquarters in Cairo's Moqattam district March 22, 2013.
x
A man standing in front of Moqattam mosque takes a photo near the Muslim Brotherhood's national headquarters in Cairo's Moqattam district March 22, 2013.
A man standing in front of Moqattam mosque takes a photo near the Muslim Brotherhood's national headquarters in Cairo's Moqattam district March 22, 2013.
Reuters
Egypt's prosecutor general on Monday ordered the arrest of five prominent political activists accused of inciting violence against President Mohamed Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood, a step the opposition decried as a reversal for democracy.
 
The move seemed certain to deepen mistrust in an already polarized political landscape, further complicating Morsi's efforts to build bridges with his opponents before parliamentary polls the opposition has threatened to boycott.
 
Those ordered arrested included Ahmed Douma and Alaa Abd El-Fattah, a leading blogger who became a symbol of the uprising that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Also ordered arrested were Karim al-Shaer, Hazem Abdel Azeem and Ahmed al-Sahafi.
 
The five were banned from travel while a sixth person was summoned for questioning.
 
Abd El-Fattah, who was arrested under Mubarak and the military council that replaced him, said in a statement he would head to the prosecutor general's office on Tuesday. He described the warrant as proof of the “corruption of the case and the prosecutor general's bias in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood”.
 
The prosecutor's office said in a statement that the five had been accused of inciting “aggression against people, the destruction of property and disturbing civil peace” in street battles near the Muslim Brotherhood's headquarters on Friday.
 
At least 130 people were hospitalized in the fighting.
 
The arrest warrants follow a threat on Sunday by Morsi to take steps to protect the nation following the clashes. Mursi said ``necessary measures'' would be taken against any politicians found to be involved.
 
Commenting on the news, Pakinam El Sharkawy, an adviser to Morsi, stressed the distinction between ``political work and freedom of expression and opinion and violence, thuggery and calling for them'', state media reported.
 
The two sides traded blame for the latest in a series of violent demonstrations targeting Morsi and the Brotherhood, the Islamist group that propelled him to power in a June election.
 
"We feel under threat. We feel this [is] a total reversal for democracy and we expect the worst," said Khaled Dawoud, a spokesman for the National Salvation Front, an alliance of non-Islamist parties that came together last year to oppose Morsi.
 
The rift between the Brotherhood and its secular-minded opponents has deepened since Morsi was elected president and spasms of street violence have obstructed his efforts to revive an economy battered by unrest.
 
Morsi's opponents accuse him and the Brotherhood of seeking to dominate the post-Mubarak era. The Brotherhood has in turn accused the opposition of failing to respect democratic rules.
 
The arrest warrants followed a formal legal complaint filed to the prosecutor by the Brotherhood on Monday against 169 people, including leaders of political parties, it accused of inciting or carrying out Friday's violence.
 
Satisfying the Brotherhood Base
 
Morsi's remarks on Sunday were in part seen as a response to anger within the ranks of the Brotherhood, whose offices have been routinely ransacked and torched in recent months.
 
"The greater issue now for them is how to manage the anger of their base and their members. These members are agitating to fight back," said Yasser El-Shimy, an analyst with the International Crisis Group. "The leadership has to show its base that there are other routes to combat the attacks," he said.
 
April 6, a pro-democracy activist movement, echoed criticism against the prosecutor general. He was appointed late last year by Morsi in disputed circumstances and his removal is one of the opposition's demands.
 
"To the prosecutor general - why do arrest warrants only happen when there are clashes at the Brotherhood headquarters?" it wrote on its Facebook page.
 
Mohamed Abolghar, head of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, said: "I am really, very worried about political freedom, media freedom - they are in extreme danger."

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As the tumult in the Middle East distracts Obama, shifting American focus eastward appears threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid