World Bulletin / News Desk
Two leaders from Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood have rejected calls by a prominent columnist for the group to declare a "unilateral truce" to pave the way for political reconciliation amid ongoing political turmoil that has gripped the country since last summer's ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi by the army.
"What does 'unilateral truce' mean?" Abdel-Meguid al-Darderi, a senior member of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), told Anadolu Agency.
Al-Darderi was reacting to a Tuesday article in private daily Al-Shorouk by well-known Islamist columnist Fahmi Huwaidi, in which the latter urged the embattled Brotherhood to "decisively" renounce violence and declare a "unilateral truce" to make way for reconciliation with Egypt's army-backed interim authorities.
Blaming the Brotherhood for the violence, the Egyptian government designated the group a "terrorist" organization last December.
The Brotherhood, for its part, has repeatedly denied involvement in recent acts of violence, saying it would not give up its strategy of peaceful protest against the army-backed authorities.
"If Huwaidi meant stopping the terrorist attacks, then he should address the attacks' perpetrators – not the Brotherhood, which has consistently condemned the attacks," al-Darderi said. "And If he meant stopping the peaceful protests, this is impossible," he said.
NO 'BLOODY TRUCE'
Gamal Heshmat, a senior Brotherhood leader, likewise rebuffed Huwaidi's proposal.
"I don't know what Huwaidi means by "truce" when the land is soaked in Egyptians blood spilt by the coup leaders," Heshmat told AA by phone.
"It's up to those who killed, arrested and tortured people to declare a truce," he said.
Heshmat went on to criticize Huwaidi for "following the Egyptian media rhetoric that he has always censured."
"His appeal to the Brotherhood to 'renounce violence and terror' makes it sound as if he doesn't know the group or its history or is acquainted with its leaders or literature," he added.
Egypt's army-backed authorities have launched a massive crackdown on the Brotherhood, which propelled Morsi to power in 2012 polls, since the latter's ouster last July.
In the almost nine months since, thousands of the groups' members and sympathizers have been arrested.
MOST ON MINYA DEATH ROW NOT BROTHERHOOD
Most of the 529 defendants sentenced to death for violence in a preliminary court decision in the Upper Egyptian city of Minya on Monday aren't Muslim Brotherhood members, according to a lawyer for the Islamist group.
"The number of Brotherhood members in the case is minimal," lawyer Ali Kamal told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.
He did not, however, give the number of Brotherhood members convicted among the group.
"The media deliberately referred to all trial defendants as 'Brotherhood members' to give the impression that the group is in conflict with the people," Kamal said.
A criminal court in the Upper Egyptian province of Minya on Monday condemned 529 supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi, a Brotherhood leader himself, to death. Sixteen others were acquitted.
The defendants, including 397 tried in absentia, were convicted for committing acts of violence in Minya last August after security forces in Cairo and Giza violently dispersed two pro-Morsi sit-ins, killing hundreds of protesters in the process.
The court has since referred the sentences to the grand mufti, Egypt's top religious official, for a non-binding procedural review.
The death sentences – the biggest in Egypt's modern history – have sparked outrage among international rights organizations and drawn condemnation from the West.Last Mod: 26 Mart 2014, 12:26