Mahmoud Ezzat is the former acting supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, currently imprisoned in Egypt.“Egypt: Wanted Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat arrested,” Gulf News, August 28, 2020, https://gulfnews.com/world/mena/egypt-wanted-brotherhood-leader-mahmoud-ezzat-arrested-1.73483156. A doctor by training,Eric Trager, Katie Kiraly, Cooper Klose, and Eliot Calhoun, “Who’s Who in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” Washington Institute for Near East Policy, September 2012, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/whos-who-in-the-muslim-brotherhood. Ezzat has been a member of the Brotherhood since his teenage years, and has served numerous jail terms for his opposition to the Egyptian government.Ahmed Raheem, “New Brotherhood supreme guide linked to “radical Qutb current,” Al-Monitor, August 21, 2013, http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/politics/2013/08/egypt-brotherhood-new-interim-supreme-guide.html#. In November 2015, Ezzat reportedly flew out of Egypt despite warrants issued for his arrest two years prior.“Brotherhood official on wanted list leaves Egypt,” Middle East Monitor, November 19, 2015, https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/africa/22366-brotherhood-official-on-wanted-list-leaves-egypt. He was allegedly operating out of Turkey,Eric Trager and Marina Shalabi, “The Brotherhood Breaks Down,” Foreign Affairs, January 17, 2016, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/egypt/2016-01-17/brotherhood-breaks-down. but Egyptian police arrested Ezzat in Cairo on August 28, 2020.“Egypt: Wanted Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat arrested,” Gulf News, August 28, 2020, https://gulfnews.com/world/mena/egypt-wanted-brotherhood-leader-mahmoud-ezzat-arrested-1.73483156. Ezzat was sentenced to life in prison on April 8, 2021, for inciting violence after the July 2013 ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.“Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood leader gets life sentence on terrorism charges,” Deutsche Welle, April 4, 2021, https://www.dw.com/en/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-leader-gets-life-sentence-on-terrorism-charges/a-57139394.
Prior to Ezzat’s appointment to supreme guide, he served as the secretary-general of the Brotherhood and as a member of the Guidance Office.“Mahmoud Ezzat named Muslim Brotherhood’s new leader,” Al Arabiya, August 20, 2013, http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/middle-east/2013/08/21/Mahmoud-Ezzat-named-Muslim-Brotherhood-s-new-leader.html. Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram has described him as a “hardliner,” and Sa’d al-Din Ibrahim, an America-Egyptian professor and academic, has called Ezzat a “big enigma” and the Brotherhood’s “most dangerous man.”“Who’s who in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” BBC News, last modified April 28, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-23726995. Ezzat is characterized in Egyptian media as an “iron man” who stresses top-down decision-making.Eric Trager, Katie Kiraly, Cooper Klose, and Eliot Calhoun, “Who’s Who in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” The Washington Institute, September 2012, http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/whos-who-in-the-muslim-brotherhood. As supreme guide, he is suspected to oversee the Brotherhood’s finances.“Who’s who in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood,” BBC News, last modified April 28, 2014, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-23726995. In a January 2018 interview with Egyptian newspaper Sawt al-Ummah, former Brotherhood leader Tariq al-Bashbishi claimed that Egypt-based Brotherhood members oppose Ezzat, who continues to completely control what remains of the Brotherhood organization and its resources.“Former Leader of the Brotherhood: This is Mahmoud Ezzat’s Relationship with the East Channel Crisis,” Sawt al-Ummah (Cairo), January 18, 2018, http://www.soutalomma.com/Article/747308/%D9%82%D9%8A%D8%A7%D8%AF%D9%8A-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%82-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%87%D8%B0%D9%87-%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%A9-%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%B9%D8%B2%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D8%A3%D8%B2%D9%85%D8%A9-%D9%82%D9%86%D8%A7%D8%A9-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%82.
In August 2017, a Cairo criminal court accused Ezzat of planning attacks within Egypt from abroad and added his name to the country’s national terror list.“Two leading Brotherhood figures among 296 names added to Egypt’s terror list,” Ahram Online, August 30, 2017, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/276301/Egypt/Politics-/Two-leading-Brotherhood-figures-among--names-added.aspx. Among the attacks Ezzat is accused of coordinating is the 2015 assassination of Egyptian prosecutor Hisham Barakat, allegedly by members of Hamas alongside the Brotherhood. Ezzat is also accused of involvement in the deaths of Brigadier General Wael Tahoun in 2015 and Major General Adel Rajai in 2016.Clyde Hughes, “Egypt arrests Muslim Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat,” United Press International, August 28, 2020, https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2020/08/28/Egypt-arrests-Muslim-Brotherhood-leader-Mahmoud-Ezzat/7761598624135/; “Police arrest acting leader of Muslim Brotherhood terrorist group in Cairo,” Egypt Independent (Cairo), August 28, 2020, https://www.egyptindependent.com/police-arrest-acting-leader-of-muslim-brotherhood-terrorist-group-in-cairo/. Ezzat has twice been sentenced in absentia to death and to life in prison on espionage charges.“Egypt arrests Muslim Brotherhood leader in Cairo,” Al Monitor, August 28, 2020, https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/08/egypt-mahmoud-ezzat-muslim-brotherhood-leader-arrest-cairo.html.
Egyptian police arrested Ezzat on August 28, 2020, in an apartment in the Cairo suburb of Al Tajammu. Police also seized laptops and cellphones Ezzat allegedly used to communicate with the Brotherhood’s international leadership and membership.“Egypt: Wanted Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat arrested,” Gulf News, August 28, 2020, https://gulfnews.com/world/mena/egypt-wanted-brotherhood-leader-mahmoud-ezzat-arrested-1.73483156. Ezzat will face retrials in Egypt. A statement by the Brotherhood dismissed the arrest as “false political charges.”“Acting leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood arrested in Cairo,” Reuters, August 28, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-egypt-politics/acting-leader-of-egypts-muslim-brotherhood-arrested-in-cairo-idUSKBN25O1C3. In September 2020, the Brotherhood named Ibrahim Mounir as its new acting general guide and reorganized its leadership structure.“Egypt: Wanted Brotherhood leader Mahmoud Ezzat arrested,” Gulf News, August 28, 2020, https://gulfnews.com/world/mena/egypt-wanted-brotherhood-leader-mahmoud-ezzat-arrested-1.73483156; “Muslim Brotherhood Statement on the Arrest of Acting Chairman Dr. Mahmoud Ezzat,” Ikhwanweb, September 3, 2020, https://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=32966. On April 8, 2021, an Egyptian court found Ezzat guilty of inciting violence and supplying firearms to protesters in 2013. Ezzat was sentenced to life in prison.“Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood leader gets life sentence on terrorism charges,” Deutsche Welle, April 4, 2021, https://www.dw.com/en/egypt-muslim-brotherhood-leader-gets-life-sentence-on-terrorism-charges/a-57139394; “Court sentences acting Muslim Brotherhood leader to life in prison,” Reuters, April 8, 2021, https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKBN2BV1SE.
- Extremist entity
- Muslim Brotherhood
- Type(s) of Organization:
- Non-state actor, political, religious, social service provider, transnational
- Ideologies and Affiliations:
- Islamist, jihadist, pan-Islamist, Qutbist, Sunni, takfirist
- Former acting supreme guide
The Muslim Brotherhood is a transnational Sunni Islamist movement that seeks to implement sharia (Islamic law) under a global caliphate. Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood is the country’s oldest Islamist organization and has branches throughout the world.
Mahmoud Ezzat was added to the Egypt’s national terror list in August 2017.“Two leading Brotherhood figures among 296 names added to Egypt’s terror list,” Ahram Online, August 30, 2017, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/276301/Egypt/Politics-/Two-leading-Brotherhood-figures-among--names-added.aspx.