Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi's detention was ordered by a court on Friday for questioning over charges of colluding with Palestinian militant group Hamas, even as the Muslim Brotherhood slammed the decision as engineered by a "fascist military regime".
Morsi, already under detention by the army after he was deposed on July 3, will be quizzed on whether he collaborated with Hamas in attacks on police stations and prison breaks in early 2011 during the revolt against former president Hosni Mubarak, MENA news agency reported. This is the first official word on 61-year-old Morsi's status after his ouster by the army. The judicial detention was initially ordered for 15 days.
The alleged crimes are being investigated by a Cairo court that is tasked to determine how inmates broke out of a prison late January 2011, after accusations that Morsi's Islamist group sought the help of the Hamas rulers of Gaza. Many Islamist leaders, including Morsi escaped from the prison in 2011.
The international community had called on the Egyptian state to legalise the position of the former president. Leading Brotherhood member Essam El-Erian said that the decision to detain Morsi showed the true "fascist military regime" currently in Egypt.
"Announcing a decision to detain a legitimate president who has immunity, who should not stand a trial except under specific constitutional procedures, under very suspicious timing in the absence of the simplest concepts of the state of law as well in the absence of his lawyer, shows the nature of the current struggling fascist military regime," said El-Erian on his official Facebook page earlier on Friday.
"The answer to this will be peaceful million man protests in the squares. Our strength is in our peacefulness and our unity as a people against fascism, oppression and corruption," said El-Erian. "This is the fate of those who participated in January revolution at the hands of Mubarak's men who returned back to get revenge on the people," he said.
Hamas also criticised the decision to detain Morsi for questioning over suspected collaboration with it. Army chief Gen Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has called on people to take to the streets on Friday to give the military a mandate to confront violence and "terrorism". Supporters of Morsi are also due to protest.
Reacting to El-Sisi's call for protests, the Muslim Brotherhood had announced an anti-coup protest setting the stage for fresh confrontation between the army and the Islamists. "(General Abdel Fattah) El-Sisi's threats are an announcement of civil war," the Muslim Brotherhood-led coalition which has been demanding Morsi's reinstatement, had said.
The Muslim Brotherhood condemned El-Sisi's call for nationwide rallies as a "threat" that would not intimidate them from continuing their protests. The marches will be held in all provinces under the slogan "the people want to bring down the coup," the Muslim Brotherhood-led coalition said in a statement.
According to the plan announced on social media, the protests are to reach the Tahrir Square and the presidential palace before the break of the fast. The Grand Shaykh of Al-Azhar, the highest Sunni institute, issued a statement calling on people to join the protests and abide by peacefulness.
Egypt's first democratically elected leader, Morsi was ousted by the army after mass protests against him on the anniversary of his election. He has been held by the army at an undisclosed location since then.