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Egypt bans Muslim Brotherhood, confiscates assets

The court cast its verdict on a lawsuit which demanded the group's dissolution.

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Egyptian security forces take position during a Sept. 20, 2013 demonstration in the northern coastal city of Alexandria. Protesters rallied in support of Egypt's ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and against the military. (-/AFP/Getty Images)

An Egyptian court has banned the Muslim Brotherhood Monday and ordered its assets confiscated.

The 85-year old Islamic movement and political party has been under fire from Egypt's interim government since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi on July 3.

The court cast its verdict on a lawsuit brought about by Egypt's left-wing Tagammu party, which demanded the group's dissolution.

The lawsuit also demanded the freezing of the Muslim Brotherhood's finances.

"The court bans the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood organization and its non-governmental organization and all the activities that it participates in and any organization derived from it," said Judge Mohammed al-Sayed, according to Reuters.

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A leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ibrahim Mounir, called the ruling a "totalitarian decision" and insisted the group would not disappear.

"It will remain with God's help, not by the orders by the judiciary of al-Sisi,'' he said, referring to the head of the armed forces, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.

The rise and fall of the Muslim Brotherhood since last year has taken place at breakneck speed.

The organization, which was banned in the 1950s, made a comeback after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, ousted from power in 2011 after popular street protests.

Subsequent presidential and parliamentary elections secured the Brotherhood's place in politics, but growing anti-Morsi protests led to the military intervening and effectively deposing Morsi.

Morsi, who is under arrest, has not been seen since July 3.

The court's decision, which can be appealed, could see the dismantling of the Brotherhood's network of businesses, schools, hospitals and charities that have earned it popular grassroots support.

It could also push the group underground once again or may encourage its members, which are said to number about one million, to take up arms.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/egypt/130923/egypt-bans-muslim-brotherhood-sharp-escalation