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

    US Leaders Who Served in Vietnam War Look Back and Ahead

    In New York Times opinion piece, Secretary of State John Kerry, Senator John McCain and former Senator Bob Kerrey say as US strengthens relations with Vietnam, it is important to remember lessons learned from war

    Who Are US Allies in Fight Against Islamic State?

    There is little but opportunism keeping coalition together analysts warn — SDFs Arab militias are not united even among themselves, frequently squabble and don’t share Kurds' vision for post-Assad Syria

    Learning Foreign Language Helps US Soldiers Bridge Culture Gap

    Effective interaction with local populations part of everyday curriculum at Monterey, California, Defense Language Institute

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora