Egypt’s Mursi accused of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy

July 26, 2013

Egypt’s military investigates Mursi for alleged crimes, Pussy Riot member denied release from prison, and Tunisians rally over assassination of  opposition leader. Today is Friday, July 26, and this is the World Wrap, brought to you by @dwbronner.

Anti-Mursi protesters chant slogans during a mass protest to support the army in Tahrir Square, Cairo, July 26, 2013. REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih

Mursi charged. The Egyptian army accused deposed president Mohamed Mursi of a number of crimes and will detain him for fifteen days while officials investigate the allegations, Egypt’s state news agency reports. Military leaders made the announcement hours before anti-Mursi protesters heeded a call from army chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to rally for a military mandate to confront recent violence:

Military officials have told Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood to end its protests and work with a new interim government or face the consequences, raising fears of a crackdown against Islamist protesters camped out by a mosque in a Cairo suburb… The probe centers on charges that he conspired with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas to flee jail during the 2011 uprising against veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak, killing some prisoners and officers, kidnapping soldiers and torching buildings.

Mursi’s family previously threatened to take legal action against the army for detaining Mursi without charge. Until today, the military said they were holding Mursi to protect him. Muslim Brotherhood spokesman Gehad El-Haddad dismissed the charges against Mursi, calling the accusations “nothing more than the fantasy of a few army generals and military dictatorship.” While many secular Egyptians welcome army rule, some fear a return to the violence that overcame Egypt when the military overthrew Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Washington halted a shipment of F-16 jets to Egypt but stopped short of deciding whether to sever aid to the country. Nearly 200 people have been killed in clashes this month.

A member of the female punk band Pussy Riot, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, looks out from a holding cell as she attends a court hearing to appeal for parole at the Supreme Court of Mordovia in Saransk, July 26, 2013. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Request denied. A member of the Russian female punk group Pussy Riot who was imprisoned for hooliganism in 2012 lost an appeal for release, refusing to plead guilty even though it could have won her favor in court:

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova watched from behind the black metal bars of a courtroom cage as a regional court on Friday upheld an earlier decision not to release her after nearly a year in prison so that she could look after her five-year-old daughter… “I do not admit guilt and will not plead guilty. I have principles upon which I will stand,” she said from the cage, often used for defendants or convicts in Russian courts.

On Wednesday band member Maria Alyokhina, serving a similar two-year sentence, was also denied early release. The ruling comes soon after a court sentenced opposition leader Alexei Navalny to five years in prison and barred him from running for office in a move that prompted rebellion against what critics see as oppressive rule by the Kremlin.

Protesters shout slogans while marching on the streets in the capital of Tunis, July 26, 2013. REUTERS/Anis Mili

Smoking gun. Thousands of Tunisian anti-government protesters gathered in the capital city of Tunis after opposition leader Mohamed Brahmi was assassinated on Thursday, as new evidence links his death to another political killing in February:

Tunisian opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi was killed with the same gun that was used to assassinate his party leader six months ago, suggesting the involvement of the same hardline Islamist group, the interior minister said on Friday… Brahmi belonged to the secular, Arab nationalist Popular Front party, formerly led by Belaid, whose killing set off the worst violence in Tunisia since President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled in 2011 in the first of the Arab Spring revolutions.

Banks and stores were closed on Friday and flights in and out of the country were canceled due to a general strike as the country observed a national day of mourning. Tunisians will vote on a new constitution in a few weeks, ahead of presidential elections slated for later this year.

Nota Bene: A profile details the life of Francisco Garzon, one of the drivers of a train that sped off its tracks on Wednesday in one of Europe’s worst rail disasters.


Return to growth – Reuters columnist Anatole Kaletsky discusses the global shift away from austerity. (Reuters)

Cat burglar’s escape – A member of the Pink Panther jewel thieves escaped from a Swiss prison. (Bloomberg)

Censorship outsourced – A Chinese firm is controlling the UK’s Internet porn filter. (BBC)

Formula squeeze – Chinese consumers cause an infant formula shortage worldwide. (The New York Times)

Mafia bust – Italian police arrest more than 100 people in mob crackdown. (CNN)

From the File:

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