Egypt to jail Brotherhood protest participants

Cairo, Dec 27: Egypt decided Thursday to jail whoever participates in protests organised by the Muslim Brotherhood for a term of up to five years, official news agency MENA reported.

Hani Abdel-Latif, an interior ministry spokesperson, said whoever proved affiliated with the Brotherhood, the group from which ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi hails, or promoting their ideas will be jailed for a term of up to five years, according to Xinhua.

Moreover, anyone who holds a leading post in the banned group or provides it with finance or information will face hard labour sentences, he said.

The decision, made a day after the cabinet declared the Brotherhood “a terrorist group”, is based on Article 86 of the Penal Code on terrorist groups.

The article says that the punishment may go up to execution, hard labour or life imprisonment “if terrorism is one of the means used to achieve or carry out the purposes of the said society, institution, organisation, group or assembly.”

Cairo Criminal Court decided Thursday to form six courts to try those who have been accused of terror-related crimes and inciting violence recently.

Earlier, at least five people were wounded in a bomb attack on a bus outside a school compound in the Nasr city district in Cairo. The explosion came two days after a car bomb killed 16 people at a security department in the Nile Delta city of Mansoura of Daqahliya province.

Presidential adviser Sekina Fouad said the presidency had evidence of the Brotherhood’s involvement in the Mansoura blast.

Later on Thursday, dozens of Brotherhood supporters were arrested in several provinces including Sharqiya, Gharbiya and Minufiya over charges of belonging to a terrorist organisation.

The men were arrested for prompting the ideology of the Brotherhood, and inciting people against the army and police.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, an Al Qaeda-inspired group based in Sinai claimed responsibility for the Mansoura attack, warning soldiers and policemen who work under “the coup” to “abandon their posts to preserve their religion and lives.”

It said it carried out Tuesday’s attack in response to the “apostate regime’s war on Islamic sharia (rules), shedding of the Muslims’ blood and violation of our women’s and sisters’ honour.”

IANS