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Egypt court bans Brotherhood members from polls

15 April 2014, 21:29

Cairo - A court on Tuesday banned members of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement listed as a "terrorist group", from running in Egypt's upcoming elections, a lawyer and state media said.

Egypt's military-installed authorities are engaged in a deadly crackdown against the Islamist movement, which swept all elections in Egypt since the fall of former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

A court in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria ordered authorities to bar any candidacies from Brotherhood members or former members in presidential and parliamentary elections.

The ruling came after an anti-Brotherhood group filed a petition calling for the ban.

"It is illogical to receive such candidacies after the government designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation," Tareq Mahmoud, a lawyer from the group, told AFP.

"We submitted videos, photos and documents showing terrorist acts carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is why it is illogical that they lead the country or represent its people in elections."

In December, the authorities blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood as a "terrorist group" after blaming it for a deadly bombing north of Cairo.

Egypt is to hold a 26 May to 27 May presidential election, widely expected to be won by ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to be followed by parliamentary polls.

Sisi is riding a wave of popularity after he ousted Egypt's Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last July. Morsi belongs to the Brotherhood.

Since his overthrow, the authorities have cracked down brutally on the movement and its members.

Amnesty International says more than 1 400 people have been killed in the crackdown, mostly Islamists.

More than 15 000 Islamists, mainly Brotherhood members, have been jailed, while hundreds have been sentenced to death following often speedy trials.

Under Mubarak's rule, the Brotherhood was an illegal organisation but had candidates run as independents in polls and won a sizeable number of seats.

The 85-year-old Brotherhood, Egypt's most organised opposition group during decades of dictatorship despite being banned, stepped out of the shadows after the 2011 uprising.

It won a string of polls culminating in last year's presidential election, when its candidate Morsi became Egypt's first freely elected leader.

Tuesday's court ruling against the Brotherhood came hours after a bomb attack in an upmarket central Cairo district wounded two policemen and a passer-by.



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