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Egypt hunts down the Brotherhood

THE LEVANT – Over the past eight months, the Egyptian government has sequestered 342 companies, 1107 charitable associations and 174 schools owned by Muslim Brotherhood figures, along with the finances of 1441 group leaders, a legal source from the movement said Monday.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source told The Levant that the assets were seized following a government decision last December to designate the Brotherhood – the movement from which ousted president Mohamed Morsi hails – a “terrorist” organization.

This move, he added, was followed by the formation of a government committee tasked with looking into the group’s assets.

The group was dubbed a “terrorist” organization after a deadly bomb blast outside a Nile Delta security headquarters late last year. While the Brotherhood denied any involvement, a shadowy militant organization – Ansar Beit Al-Maqdis – claimed responsibility for the attack.

According to the Brotherhood legal source, 1107 charitable associations were seized – on suspicions that they belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood – in the days following the new committee’s formation.

The seized organizations, in turn, owned assets worth hundreds of millions of Egyptian pounds, which ultimately led to the suspension of the charitable services that they had provided, the source said.

He added that the 342 seized companies had included some international ones, which had been owned – either totally or in part – by Muslim Brotherhood figures.

Those whose finances had been confiscated by the state, the source said, included the wife and son of Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie.

He added that the committee had ordered the confiscations in June of a chain of supermarkets owned by Brotherhood deputy leader Khairat al-Shater, and another owned by another Brotherhood figure.

The Brotherhood has been subject to a fierce government crackdown since the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi – himself a Brotherhood leader – in the summer of last year.

Egypt’s first freely-elected president, Morsi was removed from office and imprisoned following protests against his government.

Hundreds of his supporters have since been killed in clashes with security forces, while thousands of others – including top Brotherhood figures – have been thrown behind bars.

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