2 Brotherhood leaders held in Egypt
Published 02/06/2015 | 10:11
Two leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested by Egyptian authorities after two years on the run.
The arrests are part of a massive government crackdown on the 87-year-old organisation which was launched after the military ousted former president Mohammed Morsi in July 2013.
Morsi, a member of the Brotherhood, was overthrown after millions staged demonstrations demanding he step down. He is awaiting a court's confirmation of his death sentence today.
The two detained leaders are Abdel-Rahman el-Bar, the group's top religious cleric, and Mahmoud Ghozlan, the Brotherhood's former spokesman and a member of its top decision-making body, an official said, adding that they were hiding in a suburb of Giza when they were arrested yesterday.
Brotherhood spokesman Mohammed Montassir described the arrests on his Facebook page as a "failed attempt by the brutal coup authorities to disrupt the revolutionaries across the nation".
He added that the Egyptian government would fail to "terrorise" the Brotherhood and vowed: "We are on our path steadfast until achieving freedom and dignity."
Once the country's most influential political group, dozens of Brotherhood leaders have been put on trial, with many receiving death sentences.
Today, a court is expected to look into Morsi's death sentence in connection with a mass prison break during Egypt's 2011 uprising that eventually brought him to power.
On May 16, a court sentenced Morsi to death and referred the case to Egypt's top Muslim cleric for a consultative opinion - a normal step for all death sentences. Today's hearing will consider the response from Grand Mufti Shawki Allam.
The crackdown on the Brotherhood ignited divisions within the group's highly disciplined ranks. A younger generation is pushing for more violent and confrontational tactics, analysts say, while the older generation - at least in their official announcements - is insisting on "peaceful means" of resistance.
The group has so far distanced itself from the assassinations and suicide bombings that have rocked the country over the past two years.