Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood faces election ban

Court orders authorities to reject group's candidates seeking to take part in presidential and legislative polls.

    Tuesday's blast in central Cairo was the latest in an ongoing series of attacks targeting the government [AFP]
    Tuesday's blast in central Cairo was the latest in an ongoing series of attacks targeting the government [AFP]

    An Egyptian court has banned current and former members of the Muslim Brotherhood from taking part in upcoming presidential and legislative elections, amid new attacks targeting the country's security forces.

    The court, in the coastal northern city of Alexandria, ordered military-installed authorities on Tuesday to reject the candidacies from members of the group, which has swept all elections since the 2011 revolution.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is now blacklisted as a "terrorist group" as it is blamed by the government for attacks that have surged since the overthrow of its member, Mohamed Morsi, as president last July, leaving about 500 security forces and soldiers dead.

    The ruling came after a group of private citizens who have protested against the Brotherhood filed a petition calling for the ban.

    "It is illogical to receive such candidacies after the government designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation," Tareq Mahmoud, a lawyer from the group, told AFP news agency.

    "We submitted videos, photos and documents showing terrorist acts carried out by the Muslim Brotherhood, which is why it is illogical that they lead the country or represent its people in elections."

    Authorities have waged a sustained crackdown on the Brotherhood since Morsi's overthrow, that has claimed more than 1,400 lives, most of them Islamists, according to Amnesty International, the UK-based rights monitor.

    More than 15,000 Islamists, mainly Muslim Brotherhood members, have been jailed, while hundreds have been sentenced to death following often speedy trials.

    Morsi's defence minister, Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, who he had appointed, is largely expected to win the presidential elections scheduled for May 26-27, after gaining wide popularity since spearheading July's takeover.

    Earlier on Tuesday, two Egyptian policemen and a civilian were wounded in a bomb attack targeting a security checkpoint in central Cairo, officials and a medic said.

    The device, which was placed by unknown assailants between two cars near the checkpoint at al-Galaa Square in Dokki neighbourhood, exploded at about 7:15am local time on Tuesday, AFP quoted a security official as saying.

    Police sealed off the area and bomb-disposal experts were examining the site to make sure no other bombs were planted nearby.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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