Egyptian police arrest spiritual leader of Muslim Brotherhood

The New York Times reports: The Egyptian police arrested the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood early on Tuesday, hours after a court ordered the release of former President Hosni Mubarak.

The arrest of the Brotherhood’s spiritual leader, Mohamed Badie, appeared to represent a red line the police never crossed during Mr. Mubarak’s own crackdowns on the group. Taken together with the fact that the former president’s release for the first time seems conceivable, the developments offered a measure of how far and how quickly the tumult shaking Egypt in recent days and weeks has rolled back the changes brought by the revolution of 2011.

The order for Mr. Mubarak’s release, under a government led by former officials who worked for him, conjured the incongruous notion that he might go free even as his democratically elected successor, the Islamist Mohamed Morsi, remained in detention by the military that ousted him in early July and installed an interim government.

In a kind of counterpoint, the arrest of Mr. Badie showed the severity of the crackdown on Islamist forces that has left hundreds dead. A private television network that supports the military leadership broadcast footage of Mr. Badie, 70, in custody, with triumphal music playing against images of him clad in a white robe and sitting on a white couch with a security officer’s automatic rifle visible nearby.

His incarceration, which followed the death of a son, Ammar, in clashes on Friday, was apparently designed to further deflate the Brotherhood’s resolve to maintain its challenge to the military-backed government with street protests clamoring for Mr. Morsi’s release. [Continue reading…]

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