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.

 

Congress approves Iran sanctions extension

Pentagon says IS jihadists making 'last stand' in Sirte

Staggering casualty toll in Mosul offensive

Putin getting admirers from US to Europe to Syria

Qarawiyyin library holds written wonders

Syria regime seizes half of rebel parts of Aleppo

Europol warns of changing IS tactics

Palestinian contenders for Fatah posts set to declare

Protests erupt in Istanbul over ‘Aleppo massacre’

Aleppo family reunited after war kept them apart for months

Syria rebels put up fight for key Aleppo district

Obama unlikely to act on Israel-Palestine before leaving office

UN says torture 'widespread' after Turkey coup

International push aims to protect endangered heritage

Journalist's body found shot in Iraq’s Kurdish region

Iran urges Kenya to release two of its citizens

Morocco business diplomacy at heart of strategy to rejoin African Union

Turkish prosecutor calls for drop of Gaza ship charges against Israelis

Iran preparing ‘appropriate’ response to US sanctions renewal

Saudi government detects fresh hacking attempts

Iraq faces post-IS problem in Shiite militias

Turkey detains business executive for alleged Gulen links

Putin says Russia not looking for enemies

Tunisia sentences protesters to 14 years in jail

Saudi increases jail term for rights activist to 11 years

Misery deepens for Mosul refugees with heavy rain

Turkish parliament to vote on bill expanding Erdogan’s power

UN envoy to Yemen, President meet in new peace bid

Syrian Grand Mufti rejects terrorism claims

Qatar blocks popular news website

Desperate civilians brave Aleppo front line

OPEC spares Iran oil production cuts

Minister says Abbas is Israel's top 'ideological' foe

Erdogan insists Syria operation only targets terrorists

Kuwait opposition must form strong coalition to be effective

Russian FM denies Russia, Syria to blame for Turkish deaths

UN warns of ‘giant graveyard’ in Aleppo as Syrian troops advance

Nobel laureates call for protection of heritage sites

OPEC output cut boosts oil price

Morocco accuses AU chair of blocking readmission

Israel delays Knesset vote on mosque volume, settler homes

Mayors from world’s biggest cities plot Trump-era climate plan

Syria rebels, Russia hold Aleppo talks in Ankara

Russia demands explanation over Erdogan vow to oust Assad

Prospects for Palestine remain grim