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Crack down in Egypt

· Tension is still mounting in the major cities after the new arrests of representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood ·

Cairo's judicial authorities accuse former Vice-President ElBaradei of betrayal.

The noose is drawn tighter round the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood. Today the Egyptian authorities announced the arrest of Safwat Hegazi, one of the spokesmen of the Brotherhood most wanted by the police. Also in handcuffs was Murad Ali, spokesman of the Justice and Freedom Party, the political right arm of the Brotherhood. Meanwhile Tamarod, the movement that led the protests against former President Mursi, has asked that the Muslim Brotherhood be dissolved by law.

The clash therefore now seems to have moved from the streets to the courts. Hosni Mubarak, former President of Egypt, might be released from prison today after a court has examined his case. The judges will meet at the Tora Prison in Cairo, where Mubarak is still being held – judicial sources report –  and must decide whether or not to accept the request of Mubarak's lawyer to release the former president, who was deposed after the rebellions in 2011. His possible release, analysts say will almost certainly lead to an outburst of new protests.

For about two weeks Egypt has been witnessing the most violent clashes in its recent history, with about 900 people killed after  police cleared the sit-ins of Mursi's supporters in Cairo last 14 August. A spokesmen of the pro-Mursi front said that the toll of deaths among the Movement's  supporters amounts to about 1,400.

Judicial sources have announced that former Vice-President Mohamed ElBaradei of Egypt will be tried for “betrayal of  trust”. His resignation last 14 Agust, as a sign of protest against the violence,  is contested. ElBaradei must appear in court next 19 September, even though two days ago he actually left Egypt for Vienna.

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Sept. 21, 2018

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