Middle East

Egypt orders cleric held over ElBaradei death call

FILE - In this Saturday, Nov. 24, 2013 file photo, leading democracy advocate Mohammed ElBaradei speaks to a handful of journalists including the Associated Press, at his home on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. (AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell, File)

CAIRO: Egypt's public prosecutor ordered the arrest of a Muslim cleric who said leaders of the main opposition coalition should be condemned to death under Islamic law for seeking to topple President Mohamed Mursi, the state news agency said on Monday.

Hardline Salafi Muslim cleric Mahmoud Shaaban was ordered held for questioning over comments in an online video clip for the religious channel al-Hafez calling for the death of leaders of the opposition National Salvation Front. He singled out liberal NSF politician Mohamed ElBaradei and leftist presidential candidate Hamdeen Sabahy.

Shaaban "will be detained for questioning over charges that he incited the death of leaders of the NSF", MENA news agency reported.

The NSF has called for regular protests against Mursi, the Muslim Brotherhood politician elected president in June, accusing him of trying to monopolise power.

ElBaradei, a former head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog, criticised the Islamist-led authorities last week for not acting to stop Shaaban. The government subsequently deployed a police guard at his home and outside the houses of other opposition figures.

Shabaan had said that the NSF leaders wanted power and were "burning Egypt" to get it. "It is clear now their sentence in God's law is death," he said in the video posted on YouTube on Feb. 2.

 

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