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Egypt to try Brotherhood members accused of torture

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

CAIRO (Reuters) - Two Muslim Brotherhood members in northern Egypt have been ordered to stand trial on charges of detaining and torturing students during a protest against the president the group propelled to power.

The charges are a rare acknowledgement of the alleged role that some of the president's supporters have had in attacks on his opponents.

The U.S. State Department suggested this month that Egypt was selectively prosecuting those accused of insulting the government while ignoring or playing down attacks on anti-government demonstrators.

Opponents of Mursi also accuse him of trying to dominate state institutions such as the judiciary. The president has said he is working to rid the government of corrupt remnants from the era of Hosni Mubarak, ousted by a popular uprising in 2011.

The prosecutor's office in Damanhour said on Sunday the men were accused of detaining and beating the students in November at the Brotherhood office in the Nile Delta city during clashes between opponents of Mursi and his Islamist supporters.

The clashes in Damanhour were part of a wave of protests and violence set off by Mursi's decree in November to temporarily expand his powers and prevent court challenges to his decisions.

The crisis triggered by Mursi's decree deepened the divisions in Egyptian society, mainly between the increasingly empowered Brotherhood and its allies and other groups that fear what they see as autocratic tendencies of the Islamist group.

The prosecutor's office referred to case to trial on Saturday, court officials said. It was not immediately clear when the trial would take place.

Brotherhood officials in Cairo were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Maggie Fick; Editing by Alison Williams)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130414/egypt-try-brotherhood-members-accused-torture