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Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam el-Erian arrested in Cairo

Published: Updated:

Senior Muslim Brotherhood leader Essam el-Erian was arrested on Wednesday in a Cairo suburb, in the latest crackdown against members of the Islamist movement

Erian, the deputy leader of the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, was taken into custody from a residence in New Cairo where he had been in hiding, Reuters reported.

“Yes, he’s been arrested and details will soon be released,” a ministry source told Reuters.

The brotherhood leader reportedly did not resist arrest, security officials told the state run Middle East News Agency. Photos of his arrest have been circulated in the local media showing him smiling and gathering his belongings.

“You can't escape your destiny,” Mr. Erian was quoted as saying at the time, reported BBC news.

“I am confident I will be out of prison after putting an end to the coup.”

Erian, like his Brotherhood counterparts, is facing charges of inciting violence in response to the coup against then President Mohammad Mursi.

Authorities conducted numerous raids spanning at least eight provinces over the previous two months before finally apprehending Erian, the Washington Post reported.

An Egyptian court in September banned the Muslim Brotherhood group and seized their funds.

While nearly 2,000 members of the Muslim Brotherhood including senior members had been arrested following the overthrow Mursi in July, Erian eluded authorities for months.

During his hiding, he released numerous anti governmental video messages and made statements on his Facebook saying the current government had carried out a coup against a legitimate president and that Egypt was returning to a police state.

Erian was taken to Tora prison outside Cairo where many other Muslim Brotherhood officials are also being held, including General Guide Mohamed Badei, state media reported.

Mursi supporters have also been on the receiving end of brutal violence with hundreds of his supporters killed after police stormed two pro-Mursi protests on Aug. 14.

In response to the crackdown by Egyptian military against the Muslim Brotherhood, the U.S. government announced earlier this month that it was suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egyptian military.

Mursi is set to face trial early next week with charges for inciting violence and ordering the murder of demonstrators protesting outside the presidential palace in December before his overthrow.

Mursi is the second president in two years to face trial. Former President Hosni Mubarak also faced charges for his role in the killing of demonstrators shortly before his overthrow in 2011.

(With Reuters)