The UN secretary general has urged Egypt’s interim authorities to release overthrown President Mohammed Morsi, his spokesman said in a statement on Friday.

“Morsi and Muslim Brotherhood leaders currently in detention should be released or have their cases reviewed transparently without delay,” reads the statement, posted on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s official page.

The Egyptian army deposed Morsi, who narrowly won the country’s first free presidential election last June with 51.7 percent of the vote, following mass nationwide protests against the rule of the Islamist president. His current whereabouts remain unknown, but he is rumored to be kept in an undisclosed military location.

Morsi’s detention sparked nationwide protests and violent clashes between his supporters and opponents.

Meanwhile, the United States leadership remains undecided on whether the latest events in Egypt should be considered a military coup, Western media reported.

Briefing members of Congress on Thursday, US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told them the administration was not legally bound to draw any conclusion whether or not the ouster of Morsi should be designated a coup, and that to make such a declaration would not be in the US interest, an unnamed senior official told Reuters.

A number of Congress members have demanded the Obama administration to end its aid to Egypt, estimated at nearly $1.5 billion a year. Under US law, most aid must stop to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by “a coup d’etat or decree in which the military plays a decisive role.”




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