News / Middle East

Egyptian Authorities Arrest Muslim Brotherhood Leader

FILE - Essam el-Erian, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, speaks during Egypt's Shura Council meeting in Cairo, May 25, 2013.
FILE - Essam el-Erian, deputy head of the Freedom and Justice Party, speaks during Egypt's Shura Council meeting in Cairo, May 25, 2013.
VOA News
Egyptian authorities have arrested a key Muslim Brotherhood leader, continuing a crackdown against the group following the military's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Security forces detained Essam el-Erian, the deputy leader of the Brotherhood's political wing (the Freedom and Justice Party), at his hideout Wednesday in the eastern suburb of New Cairo.

Hours later police took control of the main building of al-Azhar University - the country's top institution for Islamic teachings - after protesting students besieged and attacked the offices of the university's chief administrator.

Students at al-Azhar have been demonstrating for weeks in support of Morsi, whom the army toppled in July after mass protests against his rule.

El-Erian had been in hiding since the July coup and was one of the few top Brotherhood officials who had remained free.

VOA's Al Pessin interviewed him in July 2011 about the Brotherhood’s plans to become a force in Egyptian politics and government after decades as a banned organization.

The spiritual leader said that his party wanted "to achieve 30-to-35 percent of seats [in parliament].  With other electoral allies and coalitions, of course we are working for a majority with others.  And this can give this alliance the ability to nominate not only the prime minister but the whole cabinet.”

El-Erian and others in the Brotherhood’s political wing promoted the idea that it believed in a moderate approach to Islam and politics.  But when it got into power, many Egyptians did not see it that way, and many supported the military coup this past July.

Hundreds of Brotherhood leaders, including Morsi, have been arrested since his ouster and charged with inciting violence.  The deposed leader's supporters have carried out mass protests demanding he be reinstated. 

Some of the demonstrations have turned violent.  More than 1,000 people, mostly Islamists, have been killed in the clashes and crackdown. 

Morsi, in detention at an undisclosed military location, is accused of inciting violence that caused the deaths of other protesters in June.  His trial is set to open November 4.

El-Erian is also a defendant in the Morsi trial.

His arrest came just hours after three judges presiding over the trial of 35 Brotherhood members stepped down after security agencies refused to let the defendants attend the courtroom sessions.

The move - a sharp pushback from within the establishment over the conduct of the trial - means a new set of judges will be assigned and the proceedings will have to start over.

You May Like

Guatemala Mudslide Death Toll Rises to 86

Death toll is expected to continue to rise as emergency crews dig through tons of earth for an estimated 350 people still missing More

Debris Found in Search for Missing Ship

Objects located Sunday have not yet been confirmed to be from the 240 meter container ship, El Faro, which disappeared in the eye of Hurricane Joaquin, according to US Coast Guard More

Survivor: Gunman Spared 'Lucky One' to Give Police Message

Law enforcement official says a manifesto of several pages was recovered; contents not revealed More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 30, 2013 9:24 AM
The interim administration is moving in the right direction. If Essam el-Erian has been unable to bring sanity to the Brotherhood over all this time he has been free, then there is no point allowing him to continue to be free, because if he is not with the people and government of Egypt, he is with the terrorist brotherhood - after all we have seen how un-brotherly they have been in unleashing terror in the country when their true color is exposed by the little shaking. Since under his control the brotherhood has remained violent and has terrorized the country, maybe it is safer to cage him, which is also a trial and error approach - after all the Muslim Brotherhood is banned and it's illegal to continue to operate an outlawed outfit in the country.

As for the judges resigning, it is democratic not to work understand circumstances that one disagrees with. If they insist on seeing those on trial face to face while the authorities think otherwise on grounds of insecurity, then let them resign and go in peace. For everyone understands how volatile Egypt is at the moment wherein a sighting of those 35 MB members to be tried can only cause an escalation. While we say the judges have not worked in the best interest of the country, we know too they can be allowed the choice to partake or not. Which is a plus for the interim administration to allow them freedom of choice.

by: Sani Aliyu Hunkuyi(Mr.) from: Nigeria
October 30, 2013 7:43 AM
I commend the three judges presiding over the trial of 35 Brotherhood members for stepping down, saying they felt "uneasy" about the proceedings but giving no specific details. If it were me the specific details would have been the fear of Allah. It is wrong to harass Muslim Brotherhood for no offence except that they said their Lord is Allah and they want Allah's shari'a (Laws) to be the guiding principles of running their government. May Allah bless Mr. Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei for the good example of disassociating himself from the blood thirsty Military dictators of Egypt. A true Muslim believes that the beauty of what Allah keeps for believers in the life after death is better than the Worldly things in this World and therefore one should try to leave a good memory of himself in the minds of people he relates with while in this world.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the military side should both relax their hard stance for the sake of Allah with the hope to get reward from Allah. The recommendation of payment for compensation, the money may come from rich Islamic Countries like Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia should offer to compensate in monetary terms, those who lost their lives and properties and support the Muslims to enshrine Shari'a laws in governing the Muslims of Egypt. Shari'a law is only applicable on Muslims without affecting the right of Non-Muslims. I invite you to Zamfara State of Nigeria to clarify the fact that in truly Shari'a compliant governments the Christians or Jews or other Non-Muslims will not be affected by running a government in compliance to Shari'a /Islamic laws. The Christians Association of Nigeria in Zamfara State will testify to that fact.
In Response

by: hassan Nahaasan from: Nigeria
October 30, 2013 10:34 PM
Sharia law is an oppressive medeival legal system that right thinking muslims hate with their blood not to talk about the peace loving christians who do not want to stay where sharia is mentioned much more practised. Sani may be living outside Nigeria and that explains his ignorance about the sufferings of christians in Zamfara state where church permits are never issued and christians are forced to wear the sharia hijab and people are constantly being harassed by the sharia police. The only people that want sharia are the islamist who do not recognise the right or existence of other religious adherants and the terrorist who likes to bring misery to humans as the only way to control and dominate. The Judges would not have acted the way they did under the mind controlling dictatorial sharia laws.May the Lord increase Assisi and all peace lovers all over the world who hate oppression and terror in the name of religion.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europei
Luis Ramirez
October 02, 2015 4:45 PM
European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video First Self-Driving Truck Debuts on European Highways

The first automated semi-trailer truck started its maiden voyage Friday, Oct. 2, on a European highway. The Daimler truck called 'Actros' is the first potentially mass-produced truck whose driver will be required only to monitor the situation, similar to the role of an airline captain while the plane is in autopilot mode. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Migrant Influx Costs Europe, But Economy Could Benefit

The influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants is testing Europe’s ability to respond – especially in the poorer Balkan states. But some analysts argue that Europe will benefit by welcoming the huge numbers of young people – many of them well educated and willing to work. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

Video New Fabric Helps Fight Dust-Related Allergies

Many people around the world suffer from dust-related allergies, caused mainly by tiny mites that live in bed linen. Polish scientists report they have successfully tested a fabric that is impenetrable to the microscopic creatures. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video Burkina Faso's Economy Deeply Affected by Political Turmoil

Political turmoil in Burkina Faso over the past year has taken a toll on the economy. The transitional government is reporting nearly $70 million in losses in the ten days that followed a short-lived coup by members of the presidential guard earlier this month. The crisis shut businesses and workers went on strike. With elections on the horizon, Emilie Iob reports on what a return to political stability can do for the country's economic recovery.

Video Fleeing Violence, Some Syrians Find Refuge in Irbil

As Syrians continue to flee their country’s unrest to seek new lives in safer places, VOA Persian Service reporter Shepol Abbassi visited Irbil, where a number Syrians have taken refuge. During the religious holidy of Eid al-Adha, the city largely shut down, as temperatures soared. Amy Katz narrates his report.

Video Nigeria’s Wecyclers Work for Reusable Future in Lagos

The streets and lagoons of Africa's largest city - Lagos, Nigeria - are often clogged with trash, almost none of which gets recycled. One company is trying to change that. Chris Stein reports for VOA from Lagos.

Video Sketch Artist Helps Catch Criminals, Gives a Face to Deceased

Police often face the problem of trying to find a crime suspect based on general descriptions that could fit hundreds of people in the vicinity of the crime. In these cases, an artist can use information from witnesses to sketch a likeness that police can show the public via newspapers and television. But, as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, such sketches can also help bring back faces of the dead.

Video Thailand Set to Build China-like Internet Firewall

Thai authorities are planning to tighten control over the Internet, creating a single international access point so they can better monitor content. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Bangkok on what is being called Thailand’s own "Great Firewall."

Video Croatian Town’s War History Evokes Empathy for Migrants

As thousands of Afghanistan, Iraqi and Syrian migrants pass through Croatia, locals are reminded of their own experiences with war and refugees in the 1990s. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from the town of Vukovar, where wartime scars still are visible today.

Video Long Drought Affecting California’s Sequoias

California is suffering under a historic four-year drought and scientists say even the state's famed sequoia trees are feeling the pain. The National Park Service has started detailed research to see how it can help the oldest living things on earth survive. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs