Old Egypt regime candidate attacks Islamist rival (AP) Associated Press) By HAMZA HENDAWI CAIRO, EGYPT 06/03/12 2:00 pm ET)
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CAIRO – An Egyptian presidential candidate, who was the last prime
minister in the regime deposed by last year´s popular revolution,
lashed out at his Islamist rival Sunday, warning he and his
fundamentalist group would monopolize power and take Egypt back
to "the dark ages."
It was a sign that the runoff race between Ahmed Shafiq, the ex-
premier, and the Muslim Brotherhood´s Mohammed Morsi was turning into
a bitter contest over who could frighten the voters of his rival
more. The two face off in a June 16-17 vote.
"I represent the civil state," Shafiq told a news conference. "The
Brotherhood represents darkness and secrecy. No one knows who they
are or what they are doing. I represent dialogue and tolerance."
"They want to monopolize power," he said. "They don´t want to take us
30 years back, but all the way back to the dark ages."
Morsi, for his part, has tried to cash on the unpopularity of a court
verdict that sentenced deposed President Hosni Mubarak to life but
acquitted him and his two sons of corruption. Six top police
commanders accused of complicity in the killing of protesters during
last year´s uprising were also acquitted.
Tens of thousands demonstrated Saturday in Cairo´s Tahrir Square,
birthplace of last year´s uprising that toppled Mubarak´s regime, and
in other cities to protest against the verdict. Several thousand were
in Tahrir Square again on Sunday, and the number was steadily
increasing as the afternoon heat wore off.
Morsi has been warning of a Mubarak-style crackdown on opponents if
Shafiq is elected. Supporters of the Brotherhood, which had until
Mubarak´s ouster last year been outlawed for nearly six decades, were
harassed and imprisoned during the former president´s 29-year rule.
Morsi went to Tahrir Square on Saturday night to show solidarity with
the protesters and scheduled a meeting later Sunday with families of
some who were killed. He also vowed to retry Mubarak, his sons and
aides, promising not to rest until the dead protesters are avenged.
Shafiq questioned whether Morsi would be the actual president, or
rather a front for the Brotherhood´s real spiritual and political
"Would the president of Egypt be the one who was elected, or there
would be another one behind the scene?" Shafiq asked. Countering
charges that he was an extension of the deposed Mubarak regime, he
said the Brotherhood made several deals with the old regime and its
"How come you flirt with the (minority Christian) Copts in news
conferences and later harass them in their homes and businesses?" he
Shafiq spoke a day after his mentor, Mubarak, and ex-security chief
Habib el-Adly were sentenced to life in prison for failing to stop
the killing of some 900 protesters during the 18-day uprising last
year. Mubarak, his two sons and a family friend were acquitted of
corruption charges, and six top police commanders were also cleared
of complicity in the killing of the protesters.
According to security officials, Mubarak on Sunday wore the blue
prison suit for convicts in his new jail, the Torah prison south of
Cairo, and had his mug shot taken according to prison regulations.
He had spent the 13 months since his arrest in hospitals, first in
his favorite Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh and later at a
spacious suite in a military hospital on the eastern outskirts of
The prison also rejected his request that the two doctors who handled
his case in the military hospital be reassigned to Torah, according
to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they
were not authorized to brief reporters.
Mubarak resisted leaving the helicopter that flew him to Torah from
court on Saturday, pleading with his escort to take him back to the
military hospital, according to the officials.
Mubarak, they said, also suffered a "health crisis" aboard the
aircraft. He stayed aboard the helicopter for more than two hours
after it landed at Torah.
The demonstrations following the verdicts also touched on the Shafiq-
Morsi runoff. Some protesters tore billboards bearing the image of
Shafiq, who, like Mubarak, was a career air force officer. Others
also chanted slogans against Morsi.
Egypt´s top prosecutor is appealing the verdicts in search of tougher
ones, according to an official who spoke on condition of anonymity
because he was not authorized to speak to reporters.
The prosecution had demanded the death penalty for Mubarak and el-
Adly. (© 2012 The Associated Press 06/03/12)
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