Egyptian authorities arrested two top leaders of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood after two years on the run, as ousted President Mohammed Morsi awaited a court confirmation Tuesday on his death sentence. The arrests are part of a massive government crackdown on the 87-year-old Brotherhood launched after the military ouster of Morsi in July 2013.
Morsi, who hails from the Brotherhood, was overthrown after millions staged demonstrations demanding he step down. The two detained leaders are Abdel-Rahman el-Bar, the group’s top religious cleric, and Mahmoud Ghozlan, the Brotherhood’s former spokesman and a member of its top decision-making body, an official said, adding that they were hiding in a Giza suburb when they were arrested Monday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the press.
A Brotherhood spokesman Mohammed Montassir described the arrests on his Facebook page as a “failed attempt by the brutal coup authorities to disrupt the revolutionaries across the nation.” He added that the Egyptian government would fail to “terrorize” the Brotherhood and vowed, “We are on our path steadfast until achieving freedom and dignity.”