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Report: Egypt court bans Brotherhood activities

By Schams Elwazer, CNN
September 23, 2013 -- Updated 1940 GMT (0340 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Government: The Muslim Brotherhood was violating the law
  • Egypt's been in turmoil since the military ousted Brotherhood-backed President Morsy
  • The Brotherhood was banned under Hosni Mubarak's regime
  • But it went official on the political scene after Mubarak's 2011 ouster

(CNN) -- An Egyptian court Monday ordered a ban on activities of the Muslim Brotherhood and froze its finances, according to state-run news website EgyNews.

The move is the latest in an anti-Muslim Brotherhood crackdown that began when the military ousted President Mohamed Morsy, who was backed by the Brotherhood, in early July.

The country's Ministry of Social Solidarity said earlier this month that it was considering punishing the group, accusing it of violating a law regulating non-governmental groups, EgyNews reported. The law prohibits such groups from operating as political organizations and forming militias.

The Brotherhood has a political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, and the current government has accused the Brotherhood of inciting violence.

A U.S. State Department spokeswoman, in response to a question at a briefing in Washington, said the department is looking for more information about the court's ruling.

"A transparent and inclusive political process that preserves the rights of all Egyptians to participate and leads back to a civilian-led government is critical to the success of Egypt's political and economic future," said Jen Psaki. She added that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy had discussed the matter when they met Sunday in New York.

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Egypt has been in turmoil since Morsy's ouster, with the military and Morsy opponents battling Muslim Brotherhood members and others.

In August, hundreds of people -- citizens as well as members of security forces -- were killed. Many of the deaths occurred when the military used force to clear two pro-Morsy sit-in sites in Cairo. Violence raged after pro-Morsy supporters staged demonstrations a few days later.

Read more: What is the Muslim Brotherhood?

The Brotherhood was underground during the regime of President Hosni Mubarak, who had banned the group. But after Mubarak's ouster in 2011, the group's Freedom and Justice Party got into gear and fielded parliamentary candidates.

The Freedom and Justice Party won about half the seats up for election in December 2011, and its presidential candidate, Morsy, won in 2012.

Egyptian security forces lately have rounded up high-profile members of the group. Last week, they arrested a Muslim Brotherhood spokesman, Gehad El-Haddad, who was a frequent guest on Western media.

He was arrested at an apartment in a Cairo suburb, Egypt's state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported. He was accused of inciting violence and murder. El-Haddad was active on social media, notifying supporters of rallies.

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