x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Egyptian forces arrest key Muslim Brotherhood figure

Essam El Erian had been on the run since the country's Islamist president was removed from power by the military in July.

CAIRO // Egyptian security forces arrested a key Muslim Brotherhood figure yesterday in a raid on his hideout.

Essam El Erian had been on the run since the country’s Islamist president was removed from power by the military in July.

Mr Morsi, who also hails from the Brotherhood, has been held at an undisclosed military location since his downfall. He is facing charges of inciting supporters to murder his opponents while in office.

Mr El Erian is also one of the defendants in the Morsi trial. He is accused of calling on Brotherhood followers to break up anti-Morsi protesters gathered outside the presidential palace late last year.

The 59-year-old Mr El Erian is the latest Brotherhood leader arrested on warrants from state prosecutors who accuse the group’s key figures of crimes ranging from inciting violence to providing weapons to supporters and threatening public order.

The official state news agency Mena said Mr El Erian was arrested after a raid on an apartment in the suburb of New Cairo, where he had been hiding.

While Mr Morsi was in power, Mr El Erian frequently spoke publicly, often causing a stir as he turned from a moderate to a hard-line member of the group.

In June Mr El Erian caused anger both in the UAE and Egypt when he mocked Egyptian school teachers employed in the Emirates and warned that the UAE will be enslaved by Iran.

Hours after Mr El Erian’s arrest, pro-Brotherhood student protesters stormed the administrative building of Al Azhar university. They smashed windows and equipment while besieging the office of university’s chief and other administrators.

University officials called police to break up the protests.

*Associated Press