CAIRO – Egypt arrested two senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders, officials said Tuesday, increasing pressure on the Islamist group at a time when its ranks are divided over whether to pursue a course of direct violent confrontation with the government in response to a
nearly 2-year-old heavy crackdown.
The new arrests targeted members of the older generation advocating peaceful resistance: Abdel-Rahman el-Bar, the Brotherhood’s top religious cleric, and Mahmoud Ghozlan, its former spokesman and a member of its top decision-making body. The two were arrested late Monday while hiding in the Gaza district of the capital, according to a security official.
El-Bar and Ghozlan were wanted by authorities because they had both been convicted in absentia in trials on violence-related charges. They were both sentenced to death, since those convicted in absentia automatically receive the harshest possible sentence for their charges. Egyptian law requires they be given a retrial after their capture.