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Islamists reject Kerry charge they ‘stole’ Egypt revolt

Brotherhood claims they won through a transparent, democratic election process

Published: Updated:

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood on Friday dismissed comments by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry accusing them of stealing the revolution, saying Washington backed the ouster of Islamist president Mohammad Mursi.

Unrest has spiked in Egypt since the military overthrew Mursi in July following popular protests against his one-year rule and accusations that he concentrated too much power in the hands of the Brotherhood.

Kerry had defended the army’s action and Washington said Mursi had failed to live up to calls for an inclusive, transparent government based on democratic principles.

Mursi was Egypt’s first freely elected president taking over from the military junta which replaced veteran strongman Hosni Mubarak after he was ousted by massive protests in 2011.

But on Wednesday Kerry delivered his harshest assessment to date of Mursi and his Islamist backers saying the revolt “got stolen by the one single-most organised entity in the state, which was the Brotherhood.”

‘Transparent’ polls

The group’s secretary general Mahmoud Hussein hit back saying the Brotherhood won parliamentary and presidential elections after Mubarak’s ouster through “transparent” polls organized by the military which was ruling the country at the time and observed by former US president Jimmy Carter.

Hussein charged that the US administration “backed and participated in the coup” that toppled Mursi.

The United States “which promotes democracy and freedoms at home is the biggest supporter of dictatorship and repression”, Hussein said.

Since Mursi’s ouster, Egypt’s military-installed interim government has cracked down on the Brotherhood with hundreds behind bars and top leaders, including Mursi, put on trial on charges of inciting deadly violence.

The clampdown came after hundreds were killed in clashes that erupted when security forces dispersed two pro-Mursi protest camps in Cairo in August.