The New York Times reports: Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Prize-winning diplomat and Egypt’s most prominent liberal, said Thursday that he had worked hard to convince Western powers of what he called the necessity of forcibly ousting President Mohamed Morsi, contending that Mr. Morsi had bungled the country’s transition to an inclusive democracy.
In an interview, Mr. ElBaradei also defended the widening arrests of Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood allies and the shutdown of Islamist television networks that followed the removal of Mr. Morsi on Wednesday by Egypt’s generals.
“The security people obviously are worried — there was an earthquake and we have to make sure that the tremors are predicted and controlled,” he said.
“They are taking some precautionary measures to avoid violence; well, this is something that I guess they have to do as a security measure,” he said. “But nobody should be detained or arrested in anticipation unless there is a clear accusation, and it has to be investigated by the attorney general and settled in a court.”
Mr. ElBaradei, whose precise role in the interim government that is replacing Mr. Morsi’s is still unclear, vowed to ensure that “everybody who is being rounded up or detained, it is by order of the attorney general — and being a member of the Muslim Brotherhood is no crime.”
In tandem with the military’s ouster of Mr. Morsi, the judicial authorities replaced the attorney general he had appointed, reinstating the prosecutor installed by Hosni Mubarak, the autocratic president ousted in Egypt’s 2011 revolution.
The Mubarak appointee, Abdel Meguid Mahmoud, spent years in office prosecuting Islamists. But Mr. ElBaradei said the generals had assured him that this time would be different because they intended to operate as an institution in a civilian democracy, with respect for due process and the rule of law. [Continue reading…]