Skip to main content

Egypt arrests Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Mohamed Badie, others

By Saad Abedine. Josh Levs and Joe Sterling, CNN
August 20, 2013 -- Updated 2126 GMT (0526 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: The Muslim Brotherhood describes charges as "trumped up" and "political"
  • Another prominent Muslim Brotherhood figure, Safwat Hegazy, is arrested
  • Badie will be held at least 15 days, Egypt says
  • About 100 people with the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested Tuesday

Cairo (CNN) -- Egypt's interim military government Tuesday added two more key figures to its list of Muslim Brotherhood leaders under arrest: Mohamed Badie, the group's spiritual leader, and Safwat Hegazy, a preacher and hardline supporter of the movement.

They were among about 100 members of the Muslim Brotherhood taken into custody Tuesday.

The brotherhood -- locked in a deadly battle with the military for control of Egypt -- slammed the interim government's ongoing "bloody military coup."

In a statement, the group's Freedom and Justice Party described the charges against Badie as "trumped up" and "political."

"It is well-known that all the charges brought against the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated political party, the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) as well as the leaders of the Anti-Coup, Pro-Democracy National Alliance are implausible fabricated charges with no legally acceptable evidence.

"What they are facing are nothing but political trumped up charges thinly painted with criminal colors," Ali Kamal, a lawyer for the Muslim Brotherhood, said in the statement.

Badie was taken in a dawn raid at a residential apartment in Cairo's Nasr City neighborhood, the Ministry of Interior said.

Arresting Badie "is not the end of the group, which will remain in the hearts of millions of Egyptians," said Ahmed Arif, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Protesters and Egyptian riot police clash in Cairo on January 17, as the country awaits the results of a constitutional referendum. On January 18, the electoral commission announced the constitution had overwhelmingly been approved. Protesters and Egyptian riot police clash in Cairo on January 17, as the country awaits the results of a constitutional referendum. On January 18, the electoral commission announced the constitution had overwhelmingly been approved.
Photos: Egypt protests
HIDE CAPTION
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
>
>>
Photos: Egypt protests Photos: Egypt protests
Egypt: The final days of an activist
Egyptian FM: There are bumps on the road
Activist: U.S. aid used against Egyptians

Badie will be detained for 15 days for investigation on accusations of inciting violence and killing protesters, the Ministry of Interior said. The detention could be extended, as has been done with ousted President Mohamed Morsy.

Mahmoud Ezzat, Badie's deputy, was named supreme guide on a temporary basis.

Later, Hegazy was arrested in Nasr City as well, according to state-run broadcaster Al-Masriya.

Opinion: Can anyone save Egypt from the brink?

The military has been arresting numerous key figures in the Muslim Brotherhood, including Mohamed Mahdi Akef, the former supreme guide; his deputy, Khairat al-Shater; Saad al-Katatni, chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party; his deputy, Rashad al-Bayoumi; and Sheikh Hazem Salah Abo Ismael.

Armed fighters holed up in school facility, military says

Badie was with Syed Abdul Rahim Abdel Naby, a teacher from the Islamic Dawa school in Beni Suef, when he was arrested at dawn, the Ministry of Interior said in its statement.

Defterios: Egypt's cycle of violence threatens to destroy its economy

Security forces then searched the school and arrested 38 members of the Muslim Brotherhood "who were hiding" in the facility and had numerous weapons, including a rifle, pistols, and Molotov cocktails, the statement said. Some of the equipment belonged to the administration of the civil protection unit in Beni Suef, which had been stormed, robbed and set on fire, the statement said.

Both sides in the conflict have insisted they reject violence, but fighting has raged.

The Muslim Brotherhood changed its profile image on Facebook on Tuesday to an image of Badie, with a quote saying, "Our peaceful movement is mightier than their tanks."

Nationwide arrests

Security forces also arrested 56 administrative leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in various provinces, the Ministry of Interior said.

The arrests came a day after 25 soldiers were killed in a Sinai ambush and onetime ruler Hosni Mubarak won acquittal on a corruption charge.

The soldiers were killed when suspected militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades struck two buses carrying security forces Monday in the city of Rafah, on the border between Egypt and Gaza, Nile TV reported.

Interim President Adly Mansour declared three days of national mourning following the attack, Nile TV said.

The Sinai Peninsula is a lawless area that was the site of frequent attacks even before Egypt's latest round of turmoil. In May, for example, seven Egyptian solders were kidnapped and held for six days there, a spokesman for Egypt's armed forces said.

But the attack adds to the persistent tension across the country since the military ousted the democratically elected Morsy in a coup.

Over the past week, about 900 people -- security personnel as well as citizens -- have been killed.

Deaths occurred when the military used force to clear two pro-Morsy sit-in sites in Cairo on Wednesday and violence raged after pro-Morsy supporters staged demonstrations Friday.

Billions in aid on the line: What will the U.S. do about Egypt?

CNN's Saad Abedin reported from Cairo; CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq, Ali Younes, Schams Elwazer, Ian Lee, Reza Sayah, Hamdi Alkhshali, Slma Shelbayah, and Holly Yan contributed to this report.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Egypt
Visit CNN Arabic for full election news and updates in Arabic.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
CNN's Reza Sayah explains Egypt's presidential election.
May 26, 2014 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
Minute changes by Egypt's next leader may not be sufficient to bring genuine stability, writes H.A. Hellyer.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0359 GMT (1159 HKT)
Supporters of Egyptian leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabbahi (portrait) attend a campaign meeting in Cairo.
Both presidential candidates have made lofty promises. But has either offered specifics on how the economy?
June 8, 2014 -- Updated 0806 GMT (1606 HKT)
CNN's Reza Sayah profiles the leading contender in Egypt's presidential election, ex army chief Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
May 23, 2014 -- Updated 0809 GMT (1609 HKT)
Hamdeen Sabahi is considered a heavy underdog in the race for Egypt's presidency, but he's sure he's going to win.
May 21, 2014 -- Updated 2208 GMT (0608 HKT)
A court in Cairo sentences ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to three years in prison for embezzlement.
May 22, 2014 -- Updated 1722 GMT (0122 HKT)
An Egyptian man waits for tourists to take them on camel rides at the Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo on February 14, 2011.
Instead of focusing on antiquities, Egypt's new "We miss you" video features dancers, malls and ritzy hotels.
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1514 GMT (2314 HKT)
Former Arab League head Amre Moussa says presidential favorite Abdel Fattah el-Sisi is right to stand up to "terrorists."
May 8, 2014 -- Updated 1250 GMT (2050 HKT)
Can music heal the rift of revolution and conflict in Egypt? CNN's Reza Sayah meets the Egyptian band trying.
May 6, 2014 -- Updated 2120 GMT (0520 HKT)
Egypt's former military chief doesn't mince words when he describes what would happen if he wins the presidency.
April 10, 2014 -- Updated 0937 GMT (1737 HKT)
Are threats of sexual violence an everyday reality for women in Cairo?
March 24, 2014 -- Updated 1641 GMT (0041 HKT)
Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour sends letter to the family of jailed Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy.
March 9, 2014 -- Updated 1630 GMT (0030 HKT)
CNN's Sara Sidner talks about stepping in for Al Jazeera reporters since they have been barred from working in Egypt.
March 15, 2014 -- Updated 1134 GMT (1934 HKT)
How are the Arab Spring nations faring? What successes can they boast and what challenges await?
ADVERTISEMENT