Amnesty Calls on Egyptian Authorities to Release Political Detainees
Amnesty International renewed its call on Egypt’s ruling regime to release, or at least charge, political detainees and supporters of all opposition groups – mainly the Muslim Brotherhood – following a new wave of arrests which took place after the group’s chairman, Dr. Mohamed Badie, confirmed that they would take part in the parliamentary elections. More than 260 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood have in fact been arrested since the announcement on October 9.
At least 75 members of the MB were arrested at dawn on Tuesday during police raids on homes in Alexandria. Members were also taken from the streets after they were involved in election campaigning; posting banners, while another 10 were hauled in the following day. All have been detained without charge.
Four other individuals from the youth activist group, the April 6 Movement, were also arrested and charged with holding a public assembly and distributing leaflets calling for a boycott of the election. They were later released on bail.
According to Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa, the recent detentions are the latest evidence of the growing government crackdown on the MB and other opposition groups in the run up to the first round of the elections scheduled for November 28.
The MB enjoys wide popular support and is considered the main rival to Egypt’s ruling National Democratic Party. The last parliamentary elections held in 2005 proved successful where the group was able to secure 20% of the total number of seats.
According to state officials, the group’s success will not be repeated.