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Saudi, Kuwait arrest two members of Brotherhood European envoys summoned over crackdown concerns

CAIRO, March 13, (Agencies): Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have arrested two members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at Cairo’s request for committing violence in Port Said before fleeing abroad, Egypt’s prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday.

The arrests are the first reported cases of Egypt’s Gulf allies detaining members of the Islamist group on its behalf. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait are among the Gulf nations that have pumped billions of dollars into Egypt since the army ousted Islamist president Mohamed Mursi last July following mass protests against him. “The office of the public prosecutor has received a notification of the arrest of Akram al-Shaer by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the accused Mohamed al- Qabouti by the state of Kuwait,” the office said in a statement.

The men were accused of inciting the killing of citizens and of assembling mobs to break into a police station and destroying property in the city of Port Said in 2013, the statement said. Egypt designated the Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in December, escalating a state crackdown on the group. Hundreds of members and supporters have been killed, and thousands more, including the movement’s leadership, are in jail. Egypt on Thursday summoned the ambassadors of several European countries after they signed a joint declaration of concern over Cairo’s sweeping crackdown on dissent.

The military-installed authorities have launched a deadly crackdown on ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement since the army toppled him in July.

The measures have has seen several activists who spearheaded the 2011 revolt against Hosni Mubarak also arrested and put on trial. Last week, 28 countries — including Britain, France, Germany and Denmark, and the United States — denounced what they said was a “disproportionate use of lethal force by (Egyptian) security forces against demonstrators which resulted in large numbers of deaths and injuries”. Amnesty International says that since Morsi’s ouster, the crackdown on his supporters has killed more than 1,400 people, while thousands more have been jailed.

Egypt’s foreign ministry delivered “a strongly worded message of protest” to ambassadors of several European nations, said Hazem Seif el-Nasr, who heads the ministry’s European affairs. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday he will decide “in the days ahead” whether to resume US aid to Egypt after suspending the funds last year over the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi and a crackdown against protesters.

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