First Published: 2013-09-23

 

Egypt deals major blow to Muslim Brotherhood with ban on all activities

 

Court bans ‘any institution branching out from or belonging to Brotherhood,’ possibly restricting Islamist movement's political arm.

 

Middle East Online

By Samer Al-Atrush - CAIRO

Egypt needs its stability back

An Egyptian court on Monday banned the Muslim Brotherhood from operating and ordered its assets seized, in the latest blow to the Islamist movement of deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

The court also banned "any institution branching out from or belonging to the Brotherhood," the official MENA news agency reported, possibly restricting the movement's political arm the Freedom and Justice Party.

The ruling ratchets up an intensifying crackdown on the Brotherhood since the army's July 3 overthrow of Morsi.

Last month, security forces stormed two Cairo protest camps, sparking clashes in which hundreds of Islamist demonstrators were killed.

The operation drew criticism of the military-installed interim authorities from foreign governments and human rights groups.

A judicial source said the court ruled that a government committee should be created to manage the Brotherhood's seized assets.

The Cairo court "ruled to ban all activities by the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, the group emanating from it and its non-governmental organisation," MENA reported.

The ruling may be appealed and overturned by a higher court.

Formed in 1928, the Muslim Brotherhood was banned for decades before a popular uprising overthrew its arch foe president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

It swept subsequent parliamentary elections and successfully fielded Morsi in last year's presidential election.

The new military-installed government now accuses the Brotherhood of "terrorism", and police have arrested at least 2,000 of its members, including nearly all of its top leaders.

In the past three years, the movement set up headquarters in a multi-storey building in Cairo and opened offices across the country for its Freedom and Justice Party.

All these buildings are likely to be seized under the court order. If upheld, the ruling would also criminalise Brotherhood membership.

A government committee is to manage the confiscated assets until criminal courts deliver their verdicts in cases brought against jailed Brotherhood leaders.

The Muslim Brotherhood "used the pure religion of Islam as a cover for activities that contradict true Islam and violate the law," the court ruled.

The decision further reduces the already remote chances of reconciliation between the interim authorities and the influential movement, which still has a loyal grass-roots base.

"A ban represents a blunt approach in which there is no space for the Brotherhood in political and social life," said Michael Hanna, an Egypt specialist with the New York-based New Century think tank.

Senior Brotherhood members had said the movement was willing to concede its core demand for Morsi's reinstatement, but wanted guarantees its imprisoned members would be released and its leaders would be allowed to operate freely.

But the interim government feels little incentive to make a deal with the Brotherhood that would alter its roadmap for a new constitution and then elections by mid-2014, analysts say.

The government says it is for the courts to decide whether to release the Brotherhood members currently in custody, who face charges including incitement to murder.

More than 100 policemen have been killed in clashes with Morsi's supporters since his overthrow.

Dozens of churches and Christian-owned properties have also been torched by Islamists angry at the support given to the coup by the leadership of the Coptic Church.

Under Morsi, the Brotherhood had tried to legalise its status by registering an NGO in its name.

"There were issues of transparency that needed to be addressed in a legal fashion. It should have been allowed to re-register to clarify it's funding stream," Hanna said.

The Brotherhood registered the NGO amid a court case examining the movement's legality.

But the registration, under a government minister belonging to the movement, was opaque and rushed, Hanna said.

 

Yemen Huthi rebels bombed for fifth night

UN warns of horrifying Syria 'catastrophe'

UN chief in Iraq for talks with top officials

Confidence in Tunisia ability to rebound as museum reopens to public

At time of war, cigar business launched in Syria

Iran claims US drone killed two military advisers in Iraq

Court finds ex-Israel Premier Olmert guilty in corruption retrial

Deadly air strike hits camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen

Erdogan insists on visit to Iran despite war-of-words

Iran asks for explanation on Erdogan comments

One day to Iran nuclear talks deadline

Yemen ex-president's son sacked as ambassador to UAE

Saudi police officers wounded in Riyadh drive-by shooting

World leaders show solidarity with Tunisia in march against extremism

Guarded optimism as Iran nuclear talks close in on deal

Dialogue remains distant as Arabs vow to defeat Iran 'puppet' in Yemen

Egypt renews calls for creation of joint military force at Arab summit

Saudi ambassador to return to Sweden after diplomatic spat

Libya forces ‘withdraw’ from frontline bases near oil ports

Qaeda seizes 'majority' of Syria northwestern city of Idlib

Torturous Iran talks move into top gear in battle of wills

UN Security Council keeps Libya arms embargo in place

Saudi-led airstrikes target arms depots in Yemen capital

Death toll from hotel attack rises as fighting continues in Somalia

Oil prices fall after Yemen-inspired gains

Turkish parliament passes security bill after long debate

Turkey army chief of staff visits historic tomb inside Syria

Saudi-led coalition keeps up raids against Yemen rebels

Assad says open to dialogue with US

US backs Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

Heavy Saudi raids force Sanaa residents to flee

Israeli Arab MP walks for Bedouins

Gulf stocks regain ground after early losses over Yemen

Kerry presses Iran on nuclear deal before deadline

Somali pirates seize Iranian fishing vessel

Borse Dubai sells big stake in London Stock Exchange

Can Arabs form joint military force?

Libya rivals discuss UN-backed peace proposals

French President to join 'anti-terror' march in Tunis

Sisi underscores Egypt’s rights to tap Nile water

US-led coalition aircraft bomb Tikrit

Saudi warplanes strike Yemen rebels in Sanaa

Netanyahu to form Israel new government after shock victory

Turkey military responds to Kurdish attacks in southeast

Leaders see horror of air crash as investigators step up probe