CAIRO — For more than a dozen years, Khairat el-Shater guided his family of 10 children, his sprawling business empire and Egypt’s largest Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, all from a prison cell.
Each week, he held court behind prison walls as young Muslim Brothers delivered to him dossiers about the organization that sometimes were as long as 200 pages. His corporate employees paid regular visits for strategic advice about his investments in software, textile, bus manufacturing and furniture companies and other enterprises. And before consenting to the marriages of his eight daughters, he met in prison with each of their suitors. Some of the grooms were prisoners with him, others made the pilgrimage, and five said their vows in his presence, behind bars.
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