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U.S. calls for Morsy to be released from detention

| Friday, July 12, 2013, 7:57 p.m.

CAIRO — As tens of thousands of Islamists rallied on Friday in cities across Egypt to restore President Mohamed Morsy to power, the Obama administration called for the ousted leader to be released from military detention, McClatchy Newspapers reported.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Morsy and other leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood were subject to “politically motivated arrests” since the military took over nine days ago.

The comments marked the first time the United States has publicly sought Morsy's release. The appeal echoed a similar call hours earlier from Germany.

U.S. officials are working with Egypt's interim government, which cheered Thursday when Psaki said Morsy's yearlong administration “wasn't a democratic rule.”

Muslim Brotherhood supporters accused the White House of abandoning democratic principles and siding with the military, which receives $1.3 billion annually in U.S. aid and is one of the few pillars of Egyptian society over which the United States maintains some influence.

Morsy is being held incommunicado, reportedly at the Republican Guard headquarters in eastern Cairo, but military officials say he is being treated well.

His face adorned T-shirts, placards and banners festooned across a half-mile-wide protest camp outside the Rabaa al Adawiya mosque. However, Morsy's Muslim Brotherhood and its allies appear to have failed to bring a significantly wider segment of Egyptian society into the streets on their side.

The military-backed administration of interim President Mansour Adly, along with the grand imam of Al-Azhar, the most prominent Sunni Muslim institution, floated offers for “national reconciliation.” Newly appointed Prime Minister Hazem el-Beblawi is reportedly promising to finish assembling his cabinet by next week, a government official told Egypt's state news agency. A presidential spokesman has said the Muslim Brotherhood will be offered posts.

But the Brotherhood says its supporters will stay in the streets until Morsy is reinstated.

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