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Germany warns Egypt over 'selective' arrests, detentions

Germany has warned Egypt's new leadership against arbitrary arrests and called for President Mohammed Morsi's release. That message was echoed by Washington. Supporters and opponents of Morsi have massed for rallies.

Germany's Foreign Ministry on Friday warned Egypt's interim administration against arbitrary arrests, stating that there should be "no political persecution" and "any semblance of selective justice" must be avoided.

Ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer said the "restrictive residency measures" for the deposed Morsi must end and access to a "neutral institution" should be granted.

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Mass demos for Morsi

The ministry also called on all political forces, especially the leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood, "to refrain from any form of violence or the threat of force." A "return to democracy" in Egypt could "succeed only if all political forces help to shape the democratic transformation process," Schäfer told reporters.

The US echoed the message from Berlin, calling for Morsi to be freed. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US agreed with Germany's earlier appeal for Morsi to be released and was "publicly" making the same request.

Police are searching for the Brotherhood's supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, after a warrant was issued Wednesday for his arrest on suspicion of inciting the clashes. Arrest warrants were also issued for high-ranking officials of the organization, forcing many of them to go into hiding.

Rival rallies at Ramadan

Demonstrators were massing for rival rallies on Friday - the first Friday of Ramadan - between opposition activists who supported the army's ousting of the president last week, and pro-Morsi supporters who have called the power transfer "a bloody military coup."

The Muslim Brotherhood, the influential group from which Morsi emerged, has called for rallies across Cairo. The Brotherhood has already rejected an offer by the country's newly appointed Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi to join the new government.

Anti-Morsi protesters have also called on people to stage rallies, including a mass iftar - the breaking of the Muslim fast - in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Morsi 'held safe'

Morsi has not been seen in public since the army takeover that led to the appointment of senior judge Adly Mansour as president. According to the Egyptian foreign ministry, Morsi is currently being held in a "safe place, for his safety," and has not been charged with anything.

Last week's military overthrow of Morsi has sparked deadly clashes and deepened divisions across Egypt, marring the onset of the holy month of Ramadan.

In the worst incident, clashes around an army building on Monday left 53 people dead, mostly Morsi supporters.

hc,rc/mkg (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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