Egyptians Capture Last Remaining Senior Muslim Brotherhood Leader


Global media is reporting that Egyptian security forces have captured Essam el-Erian, described as one of the last of the prominent Muslim Brotherhood leaders to remain at large. According to a New York Times report:

Essam el-Erian
Essam el-Erian

October 30, 2013 CAIRO — Egyptian security forces on Wednesday captured Essam el-Erian, one of the last few prominent leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood still at large after a crackdown on the group that began with the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi, its ally.

The seizure of Mr. Erian, a senior leader in the Brotherhood’s political arm and an adviser to the president, appears to complete the incarceration of the organization’s top leaders less than 18 months after they stood on the brink of consolidating power over the presidency and Parliament. He was among the most visible and outspoken leaders of the Brotherhood, Egypt’s mainstream Islamist movement, and his arrest caps a career that has traced the group’s evolution through years of repression, internal reforms, electoral victories and political failure.

The charges against Mr. Erian were not immediately clear, although many of his fellow Brotherhood leaders have been arrested on allegations of incitement to violence.

A physician by training, Mr. Erian, 59, began his rise through the Brotherhood’s leadership in the 1970s as a student, helping lead a revival of the Islamist movement in Egypt. He became part of a group of young reformers who pushed the organization to open up, embrace democratic politics and compete in elections for Parliament even when it was dominated by allies of President Hosni Mubarak. Some members of the group ultimately broke with the Brotherhood to form what became known as the Center Party, arguing for a full separation between electoral politics and the group’s core missionary work.

Mr. Erian stayed with the Brotherhood. He was jailed several times for his opposition to Mr. Mubarak, including a five-year stint that ended in 2000. He ultimately won a seat on the group’s internal governing board. But in 2009 he was pushed off the board for his relative liberalism, emphasizing pluralism and individual choice, in a conservative purge that also expelled an ally, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh.

Read the rest here.

Our predecessor publication reported in December 2011 that Essam el-Erian was one of the Muslim Brotherhood leaders present during a visit  to the Brotherhood headquarters in Cairo by U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee head John Kerry and the U.S. Ambassador to Egypt.

For a profile of Essam el_Erian, go here.

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