Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Morsi family accuses Egypt military

Morsi supporters and opponents clashed in Cairo (AP)

The family of ousted Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi has furiously denounced the military, accusing it of "kidnapping" him, while European diplomats urged that Egypt's first freely elected leader be released after being held incommunicado for nearly three weeks since being deposed by the army.

The fate of Mr Morsi, who has been held without charge, has become a focus of the political battle between his Muslim Brotherhood and the new military-backed government.

Two of Mr Morsi's children lashed out at the military over his detention, saying his family has not been permitted to see him since then.

"What happened is a crime of kidnapping," one of his sons, Osama, told a Cairo news conference. "I can't find any legal means to have access to him."

The younger Morsi, who is a lawyer, called his father's detention the "embodiment of the abduction of popular will and a whole nation", and said the family will "take all legal actions" to end his detention.

In a statement read by Mr Morsi's daughter Shaimaa, the family said it held "the leaders of the bloody military coup fully responsible for the safety and security of the president".

The Muslim Brotherhood has tried to use Mr Morsi's detention to rally the country to its side, hoping to restore its badly damaged popularity. The interim government in turn appears in part to be using it to pressure his supporters into backing down from their protests demanding his reinstatement.

Those protests again turned violent , with clashes breaking out between Morsi supporters and opponents near Cairo's Tahrir Square, and between pro-Morsi demonstrators and police in a city on the capital's northern edge. At least four people were killed.

So far, however, the outcry over Mr Morsi's detention seems to have gained little traction beyond the president's supporters, without bringing significantly greater numbers to its continuing rallies around the country.

Millions of Egyptians filled the streets starting on June 30, demanding the president's removal after a year in office, leading to the coup that ousted him. Anti-Brotherhood sentiment remains strong, further fuelled by protests that block traffic in congested city centres and by media that have kept a staunchly anti-Morsi line. Egyptian human rights groups have said he should either be freed or charged.

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