U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham urged Egyptian officials to release jailed Muslim Brotherhood members today.
The senators traveled to Egypt to lecture the military authorities.
Advertisement - story continues below
U.S. Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham urged Egypt’s military-backed government to release jailed members of the Muslim Brotherhood and called on rival parties in the country to engage in a national dialogue and avoid violence.
McCain and Graham met with top military and civilian leaders in Cairo as part of international efforts to resolve a standoff with supporters of the ousted President Mohammad Mursi.
“Democracy is the only viable path to stability,” said McCain, a former presidential candidate, calling for “an inclusive political process in which all Egyptians are free to participate,” AFP reported.
Both lawmakers referred to the military’s July 3 ouster of Mursi as a “coup,” something their government has been reluctant to do as it would have legal implications for the $1.3 billion dollars (977 million euros) in U.S. aid to Egypt.
“The people who are in charge were not elected, and the people who were elected are now in jail,” Graham told reporters.
“We urge the release of political prisoners,” said McCain, referring to Brotherhood members who have been detained since Mursi’s ouster by the military on July 3, the Associated Press reported.
“In a democracy, you have to talk to each other. It is impossible to talk to somebody in jail,” Graham said.
“The judicial system will deal with this in the future. Jailing opposition is not the exercise of a legitimate power,” he said.
On Monday Obama’s Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was scheduled to meet with the Muslim Brotherhood’s second in command Khairat el-Shatar in prison.