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Egyptian judges recommend dissolving Muslim Brotherhood

A panel of Egyptian judges has recommended dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood, which backed ousted president Mohammed Morsi. The judges' call follows a crackdown on Islamists by Egypt's army and interim government.

The judicial panel told an administrative court Thursday to dissolve the non-governmental organization after opponents had challenged the Brotherhood's legal status and funding. The case was brought against the group in March, with the next session of the court hearing the case scheduled for November 12.

The judges accused the Brotherhood of operating outside the law, and also recommended their Cairo headquarters be closed. The panel's decision is not binding.

The Brotherhood was founded in 1928, but was formally dissolved by Egypt's military leadership in 1954. The group had run independent candidates in parliamentary elections, but formed their political wing – the Freedom and Justice Party – after ex-president Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office in Egypt's 2011 revolution. The Brotherhood subsequently captured majority seats in parliament and the Islamist Morsi won the country's presidency.

Morsi, Egypt's first democratically-elected president, was ousted on July 3 in a military coup after mass protests calling for him to step down. Many leading Brotherhood officials have since been either arrested or face criminal charges of inciting violence – the same crime with which Morsi was charged on Sunday. Morsi himself is being held at an undisclosed location.

At least 900 people, most of them Islamist supporters of Morsi, have been killed in protests against his removal from office.

The Brotherhood has accused the "putschist regime" of attacking democracy and creating allegations of violence and terrorism as a means to justify the group's dissolution. The National Coalition for Legitimacy, which includes the Brotherhood, called for a "million-person march" under the slogan "The Coup is Terrorism" for Tuesday.

dr/ipj (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)