Egypt calls on Qatar to hand over Brotherhood fugitives

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Foreign journalists hold banners as they march to the Egyptian Embassy to show support to Peter Greste, an Australian journalist who was arrested and detained in Cairo while on assignment for Qatar-based Al-Jazeera network, on December 29, 2013, in Nairobi, on February 4, 2014. (Photo: AFP - Simon Maina)

Published Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Egypt's foreign ministry said it summoned Qatar's charge d'affaires in Cairo on Tuesday to demand the handover of Islamist fugitives in exile in Doha.

Relations between the countries deteriorated with the Egyptian military's overthrow of president Mohammed Mursi and its subsequent crackdown on his Muslim Brotherhood movement, which Qatar backs.

Egypt has also cracked down on the Qatar-based broadcaster Al-Jazeera, which it accuses of supporting the Islamists.

Egypt had summoned the Qatari ambassador last month in protest at Doha's criticism of the crackdown on Islamists. He was not in the country on Tuesday.

Several Muslim Brotherhood leaders, and allied Islamists, fled to Doha following Mursi's ouster in July. Some are wanted for trial in Egypt.

Foreign ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told a news conference the Qatari diplomat was told "it was necessary to hand over those who are wanted by Egypt."

Egypt's military-installed government designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization in December. It says Arab states that signed a 1998 anti-terrorism treaty should hand over wanted members of the group.

Dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leaders, including Mursi himself, face separate trials on charges ranging from inciting violence to espionage.

Prosecutors last week referred 20 people to trial they accused of working for al-Jazeera, including a detained Australian and two Britons who are abroad.

They are accused of broadcasting false news. The Egyptians in the case are also accused of joining a terrorist group.

Scores of supporters of jailed Al-Jazeera journalists demonstrated on Tuesday in Kenya, the base of one of the detained reporters.

"Being a journalist is not a crime," the crowd of around a 100 shouted outside the Egyptian embassy in Nairobi, in a peaceful protest watched over by armed police.

Tom Rhodes of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said he feared for media rights in Egypt.

"CPJ is concerned that if such a crackdown is done on an international media house... what is the situation for local journalists?"

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)


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