Egypt says ousted president Morsi is in a safe place, treated in a "very dignified manner"

Egypt's Foreign Ministry says the ousted president Mohammed Morsi is in a safe place and is being treated in a "very dignified manner."

Ministry spokesman Badr Abdel-Atti told reporters on Wednesday that no charges have been leveled against Morsi, who was ousted in popular uprising by military on July 3.

But he says "for his own safety and for the safety of the country, it is better to keep him ... otherwise, consequences will be dire."

The statement comes as Egyptian authorities escalated their crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood by ordering the arrest of its spiritual leader. The group remained steadfast in its defiance of the new military-backed administration and refused offers to join an interim government.

Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters have been staging a sit-in demanding his return.