News / Middle East

    Egypt Muslim Brotherhood Chief Calls Sissi a 'Tyrant'

    Leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Badie, bottom center, and senior Brotherhood figurer Salah Soltan, right, gesture, during an appearance at a courtroom in Cairo, April 1, 2014.
    Leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood Mohammed Badie, bottom center, and senior Brotherhood figurer Salah Soltan, right, gesture, during an appearance at a courtroom in Cairo, April 1, 2014.
    Reuters
    The top leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood accused Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, the former army chief widely tipped to become the country's next president, of being a tyrant and predicted he would fail to stay in power.

    Speaking on Tuesday from a cage in a courtroom where he faces trial for inciting violence, Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie also dismissed accusations by the military-backed government that the group engaged in terrorism.

    "The people will not accept an army tyrant," Badie said in reference to Sissi, who resigned from the military on Wednesday in order to contest a presidential election on May 26-27.

    Sissi toppled President Mohamed Morsi, who was freely elected in 2012 after many years rising through the Brotherhood, last July after mass protests against his rule.

    His ouster was followed by one of the toughest security crackdowns on the Brotherhood in its 86-year history. Hundreds of its supporters were killed at a pro-Morsi protest camp last August and thousands others including Morsi were arrested.

    Badie and many other Brotherhood leaders have been put on trial in several cases, crippling a mainstream Islamist movement that won nearly every election since the uprising that toppled autocratic president and ex-army general Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

    Badie, 70, and 50 others were on trial on Tuesday in connection with violence that occurred when security forces dispersed Mursi's main Cairo protest camp last August.

    Defendants were defiant throughout the proceedings, chanting the Egyptian national anthem, reciting verses from the Quran and making four-finger gestures that have come to symbolize Brotherhood resistance to state repression.

    Defense lawyers withdrew from the session after a judge rejected one of their requests.

    Sissi won over many Egyptians by removing the Brotherhood from power and pledging to crush "terrorist" attacks the government blames on the group, which lost support on the street after Morsi's troubled year in office.

    "The group has for over 85 years never engaged in terrorism and  never surrendered to any terrorism even if it was practiced by the state, and has endured a lot for that sake," said Badie, wearing a loose, white shirt-like garment."They [the current authorities] are the terrorists. This Sisi is the one who manufactured terrorism."

    The Brotherhood has accused the Egyptian state of practicing "terrorism" by rounding up thousands of people and engaging in what human rights group say are abuses.

    "They [the authorities] are the ones who are killing the Egyptian people," Badie said.

    Only 33 of the 51 defendants appeared in court on Tuesday, while 18 others were being tried in absentia.

    Scuffles erupted in the court after a judge told Brotherhood defendant Salah Sultan, a professor at the prestigious Al-Azhar University, to "shut up" after he complained of not being able to hear proceedings.

    When a lawyer requested that a softer tone be used with Sultan because he was a religious scholar, the judge just smiled.

    The defendants stood with their back facing the judge after the judge addressed Sultan and chanted, "Down, down with military rule."

    Proceedings were adjourned until April 6.

    Last week, a judge in the city of Minya issued a stunning sentence, even by the standards of the wholesale repression of the Brotherhood, when 529 Brotherhood members and supporters were given the death penalty for murder and other offenses.

    Gehad el-Hadad, among the defendants who appeared in court on Tuesday, urged world powers to promote democracy in Egypt.

    "Those leaders of the world who speak in the name of democracy, now is the time to stand [up] to end the military coup," Hadad said in English. "We are fighting for the freedom of our country. It is turning into a Sissi family. We will continue fighting for our freedom. We will not surrender."

    You May Like

    Russia Sees Brexit Impact Widespread but Temporary

    Officials, citizens react to Britain’s vote to exit European Union with mix of pleasure, understanding and concern

    Obama Encourages Entrepreneurs to Seek Global Interconnection

    President tells entrepreneurs at global summit at Stanford University to find mentors, push ahead with new ideas on day after Britain voters decide to exit EU

    Video Some US Gun Owners Support Gun Control

    Defying the stereotype, Dave Makings says he'd give up his assault rifle for a comprehensive program to reduce gun violence

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora