Egyptian court shutters four news channels

Sept. 3, 2013 at 8:24 AM
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CAIRO, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The Investment Department, attached to the State Council's Administrative Court, Tuesday stopped the broadcasting four news channels in Egypt.

Social Justice Party leader Mahmoud Farghaly Omran sued to get the shutdown of al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, Yarmuk, al-Qods and Ahrar 25, charging the stations didn't have current licenses and were airing false reports that confused Egyptians, the Egyptian news agency MENA reported.

Opponents of the Muslim Brotherhood and deposed President Mohamed Morsi have accused al-Jazeera Mubasher Misr, a Qatari channel, of provoking internal tensions and broadcasting material supportive of the Brotherhood and Morsi since he took office last year and after his ouster in July.

Meanwhile, an Egyptian judicial panel recommended the Muslim Brotherhood be dissolved, and regime security forces arrested another leading figure of the Islamist group.

The judicial panel, which advises the government on legal issues, said the Sunni Islamist religious, political and social movement operated outside the law because it formed illegal paramilitary groups and should therefore be dissolved as a non-governmental organization.

The judges, on the State Commissioners Authority, also advised the Brotherhood's Cairo headquarters be closed.

The non-binding judgment comes as interim Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi says he may ban the group, which was outlawed from the 1950s until the 2011 overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak.

The Brotherhood then became the largest and best-organized political force in Egypt, supporting the 2012 election of former Brotherhood party leader Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown by the military July 3 after massive protests against his one-year rule.

Morsi has been held in an undisclosed location since his ouster.

The state prosecutor Sunday ordered Morsi to stand trial on charges of inciting the killing of 10 peaceful protesters outside the presidential palace in December. The protesters were among tens of thousands who rallied outside the palace gates to protest Morsi's decree granting himself unchecked power to help push through a new Constitution written by Islamists.

The prosecutor also ordered 14 other Islamist leaders to stand trial on the same criminal charges of "incitement to murder and violence" during the December sit-ins outside the Heliopolis Palace.

No date for the trial has yet been announced.

The judicial panel's judgment Monday was followed by a report Egyptian security forces arrested leading Muslim Brotherhood figure Saad El-Husseini that night, state newspaper al-Ahram reported.

El-Husseini -- found in New Cairo on the capital's outskirts -- is a member of the Brotherhood's Guidance Bureau, the group's highest administrative board, and a senior member in the group's Freedom and Justice Party.

Dozens of leading Brotherhood figures -- including Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, who suffered a heart attack in prison late last week -- and more than 1,000 Brotherhood members have been arrested since security forces in Cairo stormed two large encampments packed with Morsi supporters Aug. 14, sparking brutal violence the Health Ministry said led to 638 mostly Islamist deaths and some 4,000 injuries.

Most Brotherhood leaders arrested since Aug. 14 are accused of inciting violence during clashes that broke out after Morsi's ouster.

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