[JURIST] Egypt’s interim government on Wednesday officially declared the Muslim Brotherhood [party website, JURIST news archive] a terrorist group following the bombing of a police station [Al Jazeera report] earlier this week that killed 16 people. The official label [Reuters report] allows the government to prosecute any member of the party, including anyone giving money to the party. The announcement, which sparked protests and demonstrations across the country, came in spite of the fact that Ansar Jerusalem, a jihadist group responsible for attacks in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, has claimed responsibility for the bombing. In response to the announcement, US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki expressed [WP report] concern, including the US’s belief that Egypt should maintain an inclusive political process.
The Egyptian government has been cracking down on the Muslim Brotherhood recently. Earlier this month Egyptian state media reported that ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi [BBC backgrounder] will be tried on charges of espionage and terrorism along with 35 other defendants, many of whom are also former high-level officials and members of the Muslim Brotherhood. In late September an Egyptian court banned [JURIST report] the Brotherhood after having previously banned [JURIST report] several media outlets earlier in the month for their alleged support of the group. The order closing the outlets claimed they had been providing biased news reports favoring the Brotherhood. Morsi was deposed [JURIST report] as president in early July, when the Egyptian military took control of the government and suspended the nation’s constitution. Egypt has faced near-continual unrest since its revolution overthrowing [JURIST backgrounder] the autocratic government of Hosni Mubarak in 2011.