Mohamed Taha Wahdan

Mohamed Taha Wahdan is a key leader in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. He is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for his role in a July 2013 raid on the Ismailiya police station in protest of the military coup against Egypt’s Brotherhood-led government.“Egyptian military court hands 3-year prison sentence to Brotherhood figure Wahdan,” Ahram Online, January 27, 2016, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/186047/Egypt/Politics-/Egyptian-military-court-hands-year-prison-sentence.aspx.

Wahdan is reportedly loyal to the Brotherhood’s younger, more violent strain, as opposed to the older generation that has historically propagated a gradual, non-violent approach to transforming Egyptian society.Abdelrahman Ayyash and Victor J. Willi, “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in 2016 Scenarios and Recommendations,” German Council on Foreign Relations, March 2016, 2, https://dgap.org/en/article/getFullPDF/27762. Formerly a university professor, Wahdan was charged, arrested, and held in an Egyptian prison from January 1995 until March 1998 for plotting against the government to establish an Islamic state.“Egypt: Further Information on Fear of Torture/Prisoners of Conscience/Legal Concern,” Amnesty International, March 30, 1998, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/MDE12/018/1998/en/. In January 2012, Wahdan was elected to the Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Office, the group’s top executive authority responsible for setting political strategy and policies.Samuel Tadros, “The Brotherhood Divided,” Hudson Institute, August 20, 2015, http://www.hudson.org/research/11530-the-brotherhood-divided; 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. Wahdan has also reportedly served as the group’s chief of education.Abdelrahman Ayyash and Victor J. Willi, “The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in 2016 Scenarios and Recommendations,” German Council on Foreign Relations, March 2016, 2, https://dgap.org/en/article/getFullPDF/27762.

Despite the escalating crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in early 2014, the party held internal elections that February. Wahdan was elected as the leader of the newly established Crisis Management Committee in response to the July 2013 imprisonment of Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie and the need for new leadership after the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi.في خمس نقاط، كل ما تريد معرفته عن أزمة الإخوان الأخيرة؟,” Sasa Post, May 31, 2015, http://www.sasapost.com/muslim-brotherhood-crisis-2015/.

The Crisis Management Committee was responsible for helping the post-coup Brotherhood craft a political strategy that would express dissatisfaction with the status quo without pushing the Brotherhood into an immediate, direct confrontation with the state.Mostafa Hashem, “The Great Brotherhood Divide,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2, 2016, http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/62942. The committee tried to do this by highlighting human rights abuses committed by the Egyptian state and honoring those slain by the military without explicitly calling for attacks on the military or state institutions.Mostafa Hashem, “The Great Brotherhood Divide,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2, 2016, http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/62942. Wahdan reportedly oversaw the Brotherhood’s rank-and-file on the ground in Egypt.في خمس نقاط، كل ما تريد معرفته عن أزمة الإخوان الأخيرة؟,” Sasa Post, May 31, 2015, http://www.sasapost.com/muslim-brotherhood-crisis-2015/.

In late March 2014, Wahdan was arrested for his alleged role in instigating a July 2013 raid on a police station in Ismailiya, Egypt. Wahdan had reportedly been in hiding since Egyptian security forces dispersed a pro-Morsi sit-in at Rabaa Square in Cairo, leading to the deaths of more than 800 people.Mohammed Ismael, “The night of the arrest of “Mohammed Taha Wahdan…The Brotherhood announces the downfall of a member of the Guidance Office, Hidden Since the Dispersal of the Spring at the Hands of the Security Forces in October…And Sources: He is Accused in the Case of the Helwan Brigades…And Kamal Habib…He Had a Strong Influence on the Group’s Youth,” Youm7 (Cairo), May 28, 2015, http://www.youm7.com/story/2015/5/28/ليلة-القبض-على-محمد-طه-وهدان-الإخوان-تعلن-سقوط-عضو/2201254. Police charged Wahdan with joining a banned group, show of force, violating the protest law, and attacking police forces.“Egyptian military court hands 3-year prison sentence to Brotherhood figure Wahdan,” Ahram Online, January 27, 2016, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/186047/Egypt/Politics-/Egyptian-military-court-hands-year-prison-sentence.aspx. The Crisis Management Committee disbanded after Wahdan’s arrest.Mostafa Hashem, “The Great Brotherhood Divide,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, March 2, 2016, http://carnegieendowment.org/sada/62942. In April 2014, an Egyptian military court sentenced Wahdan to three years in prison for his alleged role in instigating the Ismailiya raid.“Egyptian military court hands 3-year prison sentence to Brotherhood figure Wahdan,” Ahram Online, January 27, 2016, http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/1/64/186047/Egypt/Politics-/Egyptian-military-court-hands-year-prison-sentence.aspx.

While in custody, Egyptian authorities reportedly charged Wahdan in May 2015 for inciting violence and belonging to an outlawed organization.Mohammed Ismael, “The night of the arrest of “Mohammed Taha Wahdan…The Brotherhood announces the downfall of a member of the Guidance Office, Hidden Since the Dispersal of the Spring at the Hands of the Security Forces in October…And Sources: He is Accused in the Case of the Helwan Brigades…And Kamal Habib…He Had a Strong Influence on the Group’s Youth,” Youm7 (Cairo), May 28, 2015, http://www.youm7.com/story/2015/5/28/ليلة-القبض-على-محمد-طه-وهدان-الإخوان-تعلن-سقوط-عضو/2201254. The following month, his trial was referred to a military court.Mohamed Montaser, “Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman: Referral of Members to Military Courts Won't Stop Us,” Ikhwanweb: The Muslim Brotherhood’s Official English web site, June 21, 2015, http://www.ikhwanweb.com/article.php?id=32188. Wahdan remains in an Egyptian prison.

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