Morsi family alleges abduction

MAGGIE FICK AND TOM FINN
Last updated 08:09 23/07/2013

Relevant offers

Africa

Liberian 4-year-old suspected of having Ebola endures perilous trek for help Blast hits market in north Nigerian city of Bauchi IMF policies hampered Ebola response Ebola overshadows election in Liberia Worst outbreak, Ebola death toll exceeds 7000 Suspected Boko Haram gunmen kidnap over 100 women, children in Nigeria Maasai Olympics: Trading medals for lions Liberia delays elections due to Ebola Latest Egyptian crackdown targets gays Kiwi gravedigger offers last dignity

The family of Egypt's ousted Islamist president has said it will take legal action against the army as his supporters and opponents clashed in street battles in Cairo.

Mohamed Morsi has been held at an undisclosed military facility since the army deposed him on July 3 and suspended the constitution in the wake of street protests against his one-year rule. The army says he is being held for his own safety.
 
His detention and the arrests of numerous senior members of his Muslim Brotherhood have fuelled fears of a broad crackdown against a group banned during Hosni Mubarak's 30 years of autocratic rule, until he was toppled by street protests in 2011.

"There is no legal or constitutional basis ... for detaining someone not accused of a crime for his own safety," Morsi's son, Osama, told a news conference.

He said the family would take immediate legal action "inside Egypt and at an international level" against Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the army commander and defence minister who played a central role in forcing Morsi from office.

The Muslim Brotherhood accuses the army of orchestrating a coup that has exposed deep fissures in the Arab world's most populous nation, a strategic hinge between the Middle East and North Africa.

At least 99 people have died in violence since Morsi was deposed. On Monday, security forces fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of supporters and opponents of Morsi who hurled stones at each other near Cairo's Tahrir Square, centre of mass demonstrations before the fall of both Mubarak and Morsi.

State television said one person had been killed and seven wounded in the worst violence in the capital since July 16, when seven died in confrontations. Blood stains and broken glass littered the pavement between the duelling sides, and injured people were whisked away from the clashes on motorbikes.

"They're thugs, both sides," said Ahmed Sabri, an ice-cream vendor watching from a distance. "They don't speak for Egypt or Egyptians, they're just here for a fight."

"WILL OF THE PEOPLE"

The United States has so far avoided saying whether it regards Morsi's overthrow by the army as a "coup", language that could trigger the halt of US$1.5 billion in mainly military US aid to the pivotal country. But Western capitals have voiced concern about Morsi's fate and the European Union has called for his release.

The Brotherhood says it has had no contact with Morsi since he was overthrown, and that it believes he has not had access to a lawyer. Osama said the family had also not been able to contact him and had no information on the state of his health or where he was being held.

Ad Feedback

He described Morsi's removal as "nothing less than the abduction of the will of the people and the entire nation".

Morsi's supporters are maintaining a round-the-clock vigil in a Cairo suburb, now in its third week. They say they will stay put until Morsi is returned to office.

The military has installed an interim cabinet and promised a new election under a constitution now being amended to replace one drafted last year by a body dominated by Islamists and approved despite objections from Christians and liberals.

Egypt's public prosecutor's office launched a criminal investigation against Morsi on July 13, saying it was examining complaints including spying and inciting violence. It did not specify who had filed the complaints.

No formal charges have been announced and army and judicial sources denied on Monday a report in state-run Al-Ahram newspaper that the public prosecutor had ordered the arrest of Morsi for 15 days pending the results of a probe. The prosecutor's office later summoned the newspaper's editor-in-chief to investigate what it called a "false report".

Heba Morayef, Egypt director of Human Rights Watch, said that, without a detention order from the prosecutor's office, it was "completely illegal" to hold Morsi without charge beyond a maximum 48 hours.

- Reuters

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content