Egypt drops treason charges against top Egyptian opposition
Cairo: Egypt Sunday dropped treason charges against top opposition leaders including ex-IAEA chief Mohammed ElBaradei, extending an olive branch to the leaders who had accused President Mohamed Mursi of trying to muzzle dissent.
The country's top prosecutor had ordered an investigation into accusations against against the Constitution Party head Mohammed ElBaradei, Nobel Prize laureate and former head of the UN nuclear agency, along with Amr Moussa, former foreign minister and Hamdeen Sabahi, leader of the Dignity Party, of incitement to overthrow the regime of Mursi.
Moussa and Sabahy both had challenged Mursi for the presidency in a June poll, which followed the 2011 uprising against the long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak.
Asqalani, a member of the Freedoms Committee at the Lawyers Syndicate, said that he had filed the complaint at the time of the Ettehadeya Presidential Palace clashes that led to the death of several people.
He said it was a dark time when Egyptian blood was being shed, and suggested that "everything that has happened may be part of a conspiracy against the country."
The plaintiff stressed that he respects all national forces who seek to uphold the principles of democracy, as he respects President Mursi who himself recognises the opposition and freedom of opinion.
Asqalani cited four reasons for withdrawing his complaint against the leading members of the National Salvation Front (NSF), pointing first to freedom of opinion and expression.
Secondly, he said, the opposition had played a role in toppling the dictatorship of Mubarak, and thirdly, that they had helped make President Mursi the first legitimate president elected in Egypt's ancient and modern history.
Finally, Asqalani said, the opposition represent a safety valve to activate democracy in the new Egypt.
Egypt's main opposition coalition, the NSF, had alleged that two round of a referendum over a contentious draft constitution, held on December 15 and 22, was won by Islamists through "irregularities and violations."
The front had also opposed Mursi's decree that awarded him extra powers on November 22 and then fast-tracked the constitution through an assembly dominated by his Islamist allies and boycotted by many liberals.