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Egypt's leaders raise pressure on Morsi backers

CAIRO — Egypt's new military-led government said Sunday that it was freezing the assets of 14 Islamist allies of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, stepping up its pressure on his supporters to back down from their continuing public protests demanding his release and reinstatement.

Officials associated with the military takeover say they want all factions, including the Islamists, to participate in forming a government and competing for a new Parliament. But the Islamists object to the military overthrow of an elected government and newly ratified constitution. And they note that the generals are proceeding with the extralegal detention of the president as well the arrests of scores of top Islamists leaders.

Among others, the asset freeze hit Khayrat el-Shater, a millionaire businessman who is both the chief financier and the chief strategist of the Muslim Brotherhood, the main Islamist group backing Morsi. Because of El-Shater's importance to the group, he was subjected to long years in prison and asset seizures under former President Hosni Mubarak, and he sometimes handled the group's negotiations with Mubarak's government from inside his jail cell.

The freeze also included the Brotherhood's spiritual leader, Mohamed Badie, and the leader of its political arm, Saad el-Katatni, the former speaker of Parliament. Morsi is being detained without any legal warrant, but the new government has charged the other Islamist leaders with inciting violence.

Also on Sunday, the interim president, Adly Mansour, swore in as vice president Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Prize-winning U.N. diplomat who has been the highest profile public defender of the takeover. Mansour is expected to announce a full Cabinet of as many as 30 ministers this week.

Television networks broadcast a speech on Sunday by Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who ousted Morsi, to an auditorium of soldiers. He said that the military takeover was in the interest of national security, and that Morsi had refused to call for a referendum on his presidency.

Egypt's leaders raise pressure on Morsi backers 07/14/13 [Last modified: Monday, July 15, 2013 2:47am]
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