x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Egypt prosecutors summon Opposition over clashes with Islamists

Egyptian prosecutors yesterday summoned four opposition leaders over violence outside the Muslim Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters, a day after President Mohammed Morsi warned he may take action to "protect the nation".

CAIRO // Egyptian prosecutors yesterday summoned four opposition leaders over violence outside the Muslim Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters, a day after President Mohammed Morsi warned he may take action to "protect the nation".

The leader of the Egyptian Social Democratic Party, Mohammed Abu El Ghar, and the leading National Salvation Front member, Mahmoud El Alaily, were among those summoned after clashes on March 22 between opponents and supporters of Islamist-backed Mr Morsi, said Tarek Abu Zaid, a senior official with the Southern Cairo Prosecutor's office.

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which backed Mr Morsi for the presidency, yesterday lodged a complaint against several opposition figures, the state-run Ahram Gate reported. The list includes the former presidential candidate and lawyer Khaled Ali and the blogger Alaa Abdel Fattah.

The unrest left more than 200 people injured.

Mr Morsi is facing growing discontent among a secularist and youth opposition that says he has sold out the nation's interests for those of the Brotherhood. His critics say little has changed for the better since the 2011 uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak and brought him to power.

In threatening to take unspecified steps to "protect the nation" on Sunday, Mr Morsi also said "necessary measures" would be taken against politicians shown to be involved in what he described as violence and rioting.

The former telecommunications minister Hazem Abdel Azim, and the political activist Khaled Telima were the two other opposition members summoned.

Potentially adding resonance to allegations that little has changed under Mr Morsi, the Court of Cassation, Egypt's highest appellate court, yesterday ordered the retrial of the former oil minister Sameh Fahmy, setting aside a 15-year prison sentence handed down in connection with a natural gas export deal with Israel, the state-run news agency MENA reported.

The decision to retry Mr Fahmy was the latest in a number of reversals of rulings against Mubarak-era officials.