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Egypt court upholds ban on Brotherhood

| Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, 9:12 p.m.

CAIRO — A court in Egypt upheld on Wednesday an earlier ruling that banned the Muslim Brotherhood and ordered its assets confiscated, the state news agency reported. The decision moves forward the complicated process of the government taking control of the Islamist group's far-reaching social network and its finances.

The Cairo Court for Urgent Matters rejected the Brotherhood's appeal to suspend the Sept. 23 ruling that ordered the group's assets confiscated and its activities banned.

The sweeping verdict was viewed as a legal pretext for interim authorities to move against assets owned or administered by Brotherhood members, including schools, hospitals, charities, and businesses.

It is part of a wider crackdown against the group following the popularly backed coup in July that removed President Mohamed Morsy, a Brotherhood member and Egypt's first elected leader since the 2011 fall of autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Senior leaders have been arrested, and many of them sent to trial on a number of charges, including Morsy. His trial began on Monday on charges of incitement to murder.

Egypt's military-backed authorities formed a committee last month to review the Brotherhood assets but have not moved against its finances.

Outlawed for most of its 85-year existence — with successive regimes alternating between repression and tolerance — the Brotherhood built its networks largely underground. That made it difficult for authorities to track, since many institutions were registered under individuals' names.

Brotherhood lawyer Osama el-Helw said the group will file another appeal against the ruling, but this appeal, unlike the first, will not suspend implementation of the ban unless it is accepted by a court. It is unlikely to reverse the initial ruling, legal experts said.

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