Pro-Brotherhood preacher Hegazy charged with attempted murder

Ahram Online, Saturday 24 Aug 2013

The detained Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy is slapped with 15-day detention pending investigation

Islamist preacher Safwat Hegazy with army forces following his arrest early on Wednesday 21 August 2013. (Photo: Interior Ministry Media Sector Facebook page)

Egyptian prosecution charged on Saturday detained Islamist preacher and Muslim Brotherhood loyalist Safwat Hegazy with attempted murder and inciting violence at two Cairo sit-ins.

Hegazy faces several charges, including attempted murder and incitement of violence against opponents of deposed president Mohamed Morsi amid pro-Morsi protest camps in Cairo's Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square and Giza’s Al-Nahda Square.

He was arrested in the vicinity of Siwa town, in Egypt’s western desert, near the borders with Libya, on Wednesday.

On Saturday, prosecutors also released fresh orders to detain Hegazy for 15 days pending investigations.

Sources from the prosecution told Ahram Online that prosecutors have questioned Hegazy for inciting violence for comments he made last December.

His statements were widely interpreted as a call on Morsi supporters to confront demonstrating opponents in December 2012 in front of the presidential palace in Cairo. At least ten were killed on 5 December 2012 amid deadly clashes between pro and anti-Morsi groups.

Hegazy was also questioned for inciting Morsi supporters to march on the Republican Guards headquarters in Cairo – where the army allegedly detained Morsi – on 8 July. Over 50 Brotherhood supporters were killed and dozens injured when the armed forces stormed the protest.

Hegazy has been one of the prominent supporters of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. He was reportedly present at the Rabaa Al-Adawiya sit-in, where he made highly controversial statements about the Brotherhood's opponents.

Following the violent dispersal of the pro-Morsi sit-ins on 14 August, security forces have carried out mass arrests of members and leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. The government has repeatedly accused Islamists of committing "terrorist acts" against their opponents.

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