Brotherhood leader denies ‘terror’ chargesAssociated Press . Cairo
A fugitive leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in a videotaped speech aired Tuesday denied accusations by the authorities and allied media that his group is waging a ‘terror’ campaign.
Mohammed el-Beltagy’s address was aired by Al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, an affiliate of the Qatar-based TV station, as the group plans new demonstrations, defying a crippling security crackdown that has put most of its senior and midlevel leadership behind bars and reduced once-massive street protests to scattered gatherings of several hundred.
El-Beltagy is himself wanted on accusations of inciting violence and has been hunted by authorities for nearly three weeks.
In his 18-minute message, el-Beltagy said that authorities were trying to turn a ‘political crisis’ into a security problem by accusing his group of orchestrating a terrorism campaign. Egypt’s media, almost uniformly anti-Brotherhood after the closure of Islamist TV stations, have described the crackdown as a ‘war on terror.’
El-Beltagy went into hiding earlier this month after authorities violently broke up protest encampments held by supporters of president Mohammed Morsi, ousted in a July 3 coup. Hundreds died in the crackdown, including el-Beltagy’s daughter.
In a backlash, Morsi supporters attacked police stations, government buildings and churches. Hundreds of Brotherhood leaders and Morsi supporters were arrested, many accused of orchestrating violence.
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