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Illness, bullets decimate ranks of Egypt's Brotherhood

In the three years since Egypt's bloody military coup, the Muslim Brotherhood has seen at least 30 prominent members succumb to illnesses in prison or gunned down by security forces, according to data gathered by Anadolu Agency.

The Brotherhood says its members are dying in jail due to medical negligence by prison authorities, while its members outside prison and being gunned down by police in what the group describes as "extra-judicial executions".

The Interior Ministry, for its part, insists that prison inmates are provided with "adequate medical care" and that Brotherhood members killed by police outside jail had "violently resisted arrest".

On Tuesday, the Interior Ministry announced that two more prominent Brotherhood members — Mohamed Kamal and Yasser Shehata — had been killed in a "shootout" with security forces.

Since mid-2013, when Egypt's military ousted Mohamed Morsi — the country's first freely-elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood leader — the army-backed authorities have waged a vicious crackdown on Morsi's supporters and members of the now-banned Brotherhood.

The crackdown has seen hundreds of Brotherhood members killed and tens of thousands thrown behind bars.

The following is a brief timeline including some of the incidents in which prominent Brotherhood members have died in prison or were killed by Egyptian security forces, based on information provided by activists, the Brotherhood and the Interior Ministry.

Sept. 27, 2013: Safwat Khalil, 57, a prominent Brotherhood leader in Egypt's Dakahaliya province, is arrested during an anti-coup protest. Despite the fact that he is battling cancer, he is imprisoned at Egypt's Al-Mansura detention facility. His family later accuses the authorities of not providing him with needed medication, leading to his death.

Nov. 12, 2014: Tarek Mahmoud al-Ghandour, a 53-year-old academic and prominent Brotherhood leader in Cairo, suffers severe bleeding of the esophagus inside a prison hospital, enters a coma and eventually dies. His family, too, accuses prison authorities of medical negligence. The Interior Ministry denies the allegation.

Nov. 14, 2014: Abu Bakr Ahmed al-Qadi, 54, is arrested in January 2014 for "inciting violence". He is soon diagnosed with cancer of the liver and dies inside prison in Egypt's Qena province. The Brotherhood attributes his death to "deliberate medical negligence".

May 13, 2015: Farid Ismail Abd al-Halim, 58, is sentenced to seven years behind bars for "rioting". His health quickly deteriorates due to hepatitis C and he dies in a Cairo hospital. The Brotherhood again attributes the death to medical negligence.

May 25, 2015: Mohamed al-Fallaghi, 59, a former member of parliament for the Brotherhood, dies of kidney failure after being transferred from prison to a hospital.

July 1, 2015: Police raid an apartment in western Cairo where they gun down 13 prominent Brotherhood members. The Interior Ministry claims the men were killed in a "shootout" with police. The Brotherhood says they were "killed in cold blood".

July 3, 2015: Brotherhood member Tareq Khalil is "murdered" by security forces after "disappearing" three weeks earlier, according to Brotherhood sources. The Interior Ministry declines to comment.

Oct. 1, 2015: Security forces gun down several Brotherhood members in an apartment in Alexandria, claiming they had been involved in "acts of violence". The ministry alleges that the men had violently resisted arrest, while the Brotherhood says they had been unarmed.

Jan. 25, 2016: The Interior Ministry announces the death of Brotherhood member Mohamed Hemdan Ali, 24, in a "shootout" with security forces, describing him as "the leader of a terrorist cell". The Brotherhood says he was executed after having been arrested only days earlier.

June 12, 2016: The Brotherhood announces the death of group member Maged al-Hanafi, 35, in Egypt's notorious Tora Prison, ostensibly due to illness. The group attributes his death to "deliberate medical negligence", while the Interior Ministry declines to comment.

June 14, 2016: The Brotherhood announces the death of group member Zaghloul al-Gebali in Tora Prison due to what it again describes as "deliberate medical negligence" by the prison authorities.

July 15, 2016: The Brotherhood says that a "gradual massacre" of group members is being carried out inside Egypt's prisons, accusing authorities of killing Brotherhood member Abd al-Fattah Khedr after the latter dies of illness in Tora Prison.

Sept. 2, 2016: The Brotherhood announces the death of group member Sobhi Orabi in prison, ostensibly due to illness. The group again attributes the death to an ongoing campaign by authorities to liquidate imprisoned Brotherhood members through a policy of "deliberate medical negligence".

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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