Brotherhood's spiritual leader arrested
A file photo of Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader Mohamed Badie - Reuters

The spiritual leader of Muslim Brotherhood has been arrested as part of Egypt's crackdown on the Islamist party following the removal of former president Mohamed Morsi.

Mohamed Badie was apprehended in his apartment in Rabia al-Adawiya square in Nasr city, located in the north-eastern part of Cairo.

The 70-year-old, who has been on the run since Morsi's removal, will face trial on 25 August along with his two deputies over charges of inciting the murder of protesters during last week's violence, and attacking state institutions.

Local reports suggest Badie taken to an undisclosed location amid tight security. Egyptian television network ONTV later broadcast footage of the Islamist figurehead after his detention, being watched by an armed guard.

"Carrying out the decisions of the public prosecutor to arrest and bring forward the 'general guide' of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, and through collected information and observation of movements, it was possible for the criminal search apparatus under the direction of Cairo's security [services] to arrest him," said a caption on the interior ministry's facebook page.

The state news agency said "information came to the security apparatus locating his place of hiding."

The arrest took place during the early hours of Tuesday (20 August), and is likely to lead to ramifications in pro-Morsi groups.

State of emergency

Egypt is already under a state of emergency following the massacre of 14 August, and the army-backed interim administration has begun legal proceedings to disband the Brotherhood.

Badie, who has been on the run since Morsi's removal, became a member of the Muslim Brotherhood's international governing council in 1996 and has headed the Egyptian branch of the movement since 2010.

Soon after Morsi's overthrow by the army, Badie said: "I swear by God that what [General Abdel-Fattah] al-Sisi did in Egypt is more criminal than if he had carried an axe and demolished the holy Kaaba, stone by stone."

Badie's 38-year old son was shot dead during an earlier protest in Cairo's Ramses Square.