U.S. asks Egyptian army to release Mursi

Published: Updated:

The United States on Friday called on Egyptian army army and interim leadership to free ousted president Mohammad Mursi for the first time since he has been in custody over a week ago.

Jen Psaki, the State Department spokeswoman, said the United States agreed with Germany’s earlier appeal for Mursi’s release and was making the same request “publicly.”

Mursi has been held in a “safe place,” according to the interim leaders, and has not been seen in public since being ousted on July 3.

In past days, while condemning arbitrary arrests, Psaki had refused to say whether the U.S. administration believed Mursi should be freed.

Psaki said she was making the call for Mursi’s release “today, publicly,” but refused to say what had determined the U.S. change of stance, AFP reported.

“We’ve expressed concerns from the beginning... about his arrest, about the politically motivated arbitrary arrests of the Muslim Brotherhood members,” she said, according to AFP.

U.S. officials had also been in regular contact with all sectors of Egyptian society, she stressed.

Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood and opponents of the removed president have called separate rallies across Cairo Friday amid fears of further bloodshed in the Arab world’s most populous country.

“We continue to call for... the good treatment of those detained,” Psaki told reporters.

“We still continue to view these as politically motivated arrests, and still continue to believe that they should be released.”

US ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson has also met with the interim Egyptian president Adly Mansour, she said.

Psaki said the interim leaders had “laid out a plan... but moving forward an inclusive process is what we would like to see.”

“While we recognize that president Mursi was democratically elected ... it’s about more than what happens at the ballot box. Most democratic transitions take years to take root and stabilize, especially following decades of autocratic rule.”

(With AFP)