Washington: US Secretary of State John Kerry expressed concern on Thursday over Egypt’s intensified crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood declaring it a terrorist group.
In a phone call to Egypt’s Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy, Kerry condemned a suicide bombing in Mansoura on Tuesday and Thursday’s bus bombing in Cairo, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
The top American diplomat also “expressed concern about the interim Egyptian government’s December 25 terrorist designation of the Muslim Brotherhood, and recent detentions and arrests,” Psaki said.
Egypt has blamed ousted president Mohammad Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood for Tuesday’s suicide bombing, which was claimed by a jihadist group.
In response, Cairo declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group and on Thursday rounded up members of the group, which had long been Egypt’s best organised political and social movement.
Kerry also “underscored the need for an inclusive political process across the political spectrum that respects the fundamental human rights of all Egyptians in order to achieve political stability and democratic change”.
Student supporters of the Brotherhood took to the streets on Thursday night, clashing with anti-Mursi residents in an incident which left one person dead, the interior ministry said in a statement.
Cairo’s latest moves cap a dramatic fall for the Brotherhood since Mursi was overthrown on July 3 amid massive protests accusing him of betraying the 2011 “revolution” that toppled Hosni Mubarak by allegedly consolidating power in the hands of the Islamist group.
The Brotherhood still organises almost daily protests, despite the fact that more than 1,000 people, mainly Islamists, have been killed in street clashes in recent months and thousands more arrested, including the Brotherhood’s top leadership.
Meanwhile, Psaki said Kerry also “raised the need to redress the verdicts” against NGO representatives — referring to the June 2013 conviction of 43 Egyptian and foreign NGO workers to jail terms ranging from one to five years.
The sentences caused outrage abroad and raised fears for the future of civil society work in Egypt.