By Sayyed Fathi
CAIRO (AA) – Mohamed Badie, the jailed head of Egypt’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group, said Thursday that he was in good health but that his family had been barred from visiting him in prison.
Badie made the assertions at a criminal court in southern Cairo, where he — along with 682 others — face charges of having incited and committed “acts of violence” following a 2013 military coup that unseated Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely-elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood leader.
It was Badie’s first court appearance since rumors emerged several days ago that his health had deteriorated sharply.
Some Egyptian media outlets had gone so far as to report that the Brotherhood leader had died.
At Thursday’s court session, two lawyers for Badie, Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud and Mohamed Toson, asked the court’s permission to meet with the jailed leader — a request to which the presiding judge agreed.
At their subsequent meeting, Badie told his two lawyers that members of his family had recently been barred from visiting him on five separate occasions.
Afterwards, Abdel-Maksoud told Anadolu Agency that his client was rarely allowed out of his prison cell.
“After the recent rumors of his illness, the prison authorities let him out, telling him, ‘The media says you’re in bad health,” the lawyer said.
Badie’s family, for their part, said they had no information regarding the state of his health.
“The media reports have been very worrying,” they said in a statement released online.
They went on to say that they had been barred from visiting Badie for the past two weeks, holding the Egyptian authorities fully responsible for his health.
Badie, along with several other Brotherhood leaders, faces multiple charges of “inciting violence” following the 2013 military coup against Morsi.
Since Morsi’s overthrow three years ago, Egypt’s post-coup authorities have waged a relentless crackdown on his supporters, killing hundreds and throwing tens of thousands behind bars.