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Egyptian court maintains ban on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood

An Egyptian court has upheld a ruling banning the Muslim Brotherhood. In September, a court had outlawed the party following the army ouster of President Mohammed Morsi in July.

A lawyer from the leftist Tagammu party had brought a countersuit asking the court not to lift the September 23 ban against the Muslim Brotherhood, arguing that the judicial system needed to protect Egyptians from violence. Wednesday's decision proved another blow to the group.

"In its scheduled session today, the Cairo Urgent Cases court dismissed an appeal raised by the Muslim Brotherhood to stop the execution of the previous order banning the activities of the group," the state news agency MENA reported.

A lawyer says the Muslim Brotherhood will appeal Wednesday's ruling. The judicial ban of the Brotherhood accompanied a military campaign to crush the movement that has killed hundreds of members of the group, seen thousands arrested, and put top leaders, including Morsi, on trial. Egypt's military-backed authorities have already formed a committee to review the Muslim Brotherhood's assets but have not moved against the group's finances until the ban becomes final.

Divided Egypt

Egypt has become fiercely divided since Morsi's military-led overthrow in July. State media have lauded the military and police for their crackdown and Morsi's supporters frequently protesting in the streets.

The military-installed government has promised new elections next year that allied countries say must include all political factions to mark a credible return to democracy. The court ruling will likely exclude the Muslim Brotherhood from eligibility.

Morsi, who became Egypt's first freely elected president after the 2011 fall of longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak, faces charges of inciting violence that led to the deaths of protesters outside the presidential palace in December 2012. His trial began on Monday and will resume in January after a judge adjourned it until 2014.

mkg/hc (Reuters, AFP, AP)