Muslim Brotherhood's top leader arrested in Cairo
New spiritual leader put in place after detention of Mohamed Badie
The Muslim Brotherhood, the top opposition group in an exceedingly fractious Egypt and the party of ousted president Mohamed Morsi suffered another setback with the arrest of leader Mohamed Badie in Cairo. The group has since appointed an interim spiritual leader.
Mohamed Badie was captured near Rabaa al-Adawiya Square, where more than 280 Morsi supporters were killed last week. He was detained as police cleared their protest camp, according to the Interior Ministry.
A recently released video shows the 70-year-old Badie, sitting diffidently on a sofa, bottles of juice and water placed conspicuously in front of him. The arrest is "incredibly significant," according to Al Jazeera correspondent Mike Hanna. "The arrest of the spiritual leader was always seen as a red line, even Hosni Mubarak never arrested him, but this military-led government is clearly ignoring that."
The Muslim Brotherhood temporarily appointed Mahmoud Ezzat, Badie's deputy, as the group's spiritual leader.
Badie was moved to Tora prison, located in southern Cairo, where ousted President Hosni Mubarak and other leaders from his regime are being held. The public prosecutor ordered Badie's detention for 15 days pending investigation of accusations of inciting violence.
The Obama White House criticized the arrest, saying it was "not in line" with standards of protecting basic human rights.
"The leader of the Muslim Brotherhood is just one individual . among the millions who oppose the coup," senior Brotherhood official, Ahmed Aref, said on the group's Web site that Badei's arrest would change nothing.
Badie, along with his powerful deputy Khairat el-Shater, also in custody, will go on trial later this month for their alleged role in the killing of eight protesters outside the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters in June.
Badie has reportedly been seen in public only once since Morsi was overthrown. With his arrest, most of the Brotherhood's leadership is now in the custody of the military-led government.
On the Facebook page of the Interior Ministry, pictures of Badie were shown with a caption confirming his arrest.
"Carrying out the decisions of the public prosecutor to arrest and bring forward the general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Mohamed Badie, and through collected information and observation of movements it was possible for the criminal search apparatus under the direction of Cairo's security [services] to arrest him," the caption said.
A son of Badie was killed in Cairo during last week's "Day of Rage" protests against the army-backed government and the crackdown on its opponents. Ammar Badie, 38, died of a bullet wound sustained while taking part in protests in the city's Ramses Square.
© 2013, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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