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Continued: Key Egyptian opposition leader criticizes Morsi, says offered nothing new on nation's crisis

  • Article by: HAMZA HENDAWI , Associated Press
  • Last update: June 27, 2013 - 5:10 PM

In his speech, Morsi also railed against judges who have acquitted officials accused of corruption or police commanders who faced charges of killing protesters during and after the 2011 uprising that ousted Egypt's longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak. The president also repeated assurances that he respects the judiciary.

"When he accuses people by name, he must at least present the evidence," said judge Amir Ramzy. "It was obvious from the president's words and gestures that he has a grudge against judges."

The president also criticized the country's minority Christians of what he called fear of all things Islamic and complained that church leaders greet him with insincere smiles that conceal that fear.

Less than 24 hours after Morsi's speech, Prosecutor General Talaat Abdullah —a Morsi appointee — issued a travel ban against media tycoon Mohammed el-Ameen, owner of the popular TV network CBC, official news agency MENA said.

The agency said el-Ameen is being investigated for nearly 427 million Egyptian pounds ($61 million dollars) of alleged tax evasion. The ban came hours after Morsi named el-Ameen as one of several Mubarak loyalists who aim to thwart his rule.

The prosecutor general then issued an arrest warrant for another Morsi critic, Tawfiq Okasha, while the government ordered the shutdown of his popular "Al-Fareen" TV station. Okasha stands accused of spreading false news and causing panic among the population.

Okasha, whose station has been shut down before and is still fighting similar charges that include insulting the president and the Brotherhood, has emerged as one of the most popular TV personalities of post-Mubarak Egypt.

Meanwhile, the Brotherhood said two of its members were killed, one by gunfire, in the Nile Delta province of Sharqiya, where it accused "thugs" of storming the headquarters of its political wing. In another Delta province, security officials said riot police fired tear gas to disperse anti-Morsi demonstrators and Brotherhood members fighting after protesters torched the group's local office and houses believed to be owned by its members.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The prosecutor, Abdullah, also referred Mubarak and his two sons to a criminal court over alleged squandering of public funds. The three are already being tried on other corruption charges, and Mubarak himself over his role in the killings of protesters during the 2011 uprising.

Protesters are hoping to bring out massive crowds Sunday, saying they have tapped into widespread discontent over economic woes, rising prices and unemployment, power cuts and lack of security. The June 30 protests are rooted in a campaign by young activists called "Tamarod," or rebel. They claim to have collected about 15 million signatures of Egyptians who want Morsi to step down.

Morsi's Islamist allies are planning a counter-demonstration on Friday in support of his "legitimacy." Some say they are planning an open-ended sit-in at a mosque near the presidential palace — the planned destination of the main anti-Morsi protest two days later — raising fears of street violence.


Associated Press writers Maggie Michael and Mariam Rizk contributed to this report.

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