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Muslim Brotherhood say 154 members arrested in pre-election sweep
Muslim Brotherhood say 154 members arrested in pre-election sweep
The Muslim Brotherhood said Sunday that 154 of its members had been detained in sweeps around Egypt, but security sources told the German Press Agency dpa the figure was much lower.
Sunday, October 17,2010 21:13
Monstersandcritics.com

 The Muslim Brotherhood said Sunday that 154 of its members had been detained in sweeps around Egypt, but security sources told the German Press Agency dpa the figure was much lower.

The country's largest opposition group said the sweep targeted Brotherhood members across 17 different governorates, coming within days of the group confirming it would field independent candidates in upcoming elections.

Abdul Monem Abdul Maqsoud, the group's lawyer, told reporters that 154 members had been arrested, with 70 still in detention while the rest were released after interrogation.

But security sources rejected the Brotherhood's claims, telling dpa that fewer than 100 members of the banned group were detained.

The source said that 'dozens had been released and many more will be released immediately after investigations are complete.'

The security source said that members of the group were arrested for planning to cause 'disturbance' on the streets and for holding group meetings, which is a violation of the law since the group is outlawed.

According to the Brotherhood, many of whom are wealthy businessmen, the government's sweep also included raids on 88 businesses across the country.

Abdul Maqsoud was quoted on Ikhwanweb, the organisation's news site, that 'such actions were a complete violation of the law and constitution, which requires a court order to raid and shut down private firms and businesses.'

He said the arrests were aimed at spreading fear among Muslim Brotherhood supporters to keep people from joining the campaign to assist candidates in elections.

The Islamists have faced crackdowns from the Egyptian government for over five decades, but members of the group said last week's arrests were aimed at weakening their ability to organise ahead of parliamentary elections.

Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badi announced last week that the brotherhood would aim to win 30 per cent of the seats in parliament in order to 'address the corrupt (politicians) and to ensure that the political arena is not left an uncontrollable fertile ground for them.'

The Muslim Brotherood won 88 seats, nearly a fifth of the total in the People's Assembly, in the 2005 elections for parliament. To control 30 per cent of parliament, they would need to win 155 seats.

Mohamed Habib, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, told dpa that the government was seeking to silence critics by tightening its control of the media in recent weeks.

The government has been heavily criticised by rights groups around the world for recent measures aimed at centralising Cairo's control of independent media outlets.

'Independent journalism has a crucial role in keeping watch over the regime and exposing fraud or abuse of power, particularly during the time of elections,' said Habib.

Egypt's ruling National Democratic Party, which counts the president's son Gamal Mubarak as one of its top officials, is expected to maintain its grip over parliament in the election.

Though no date has been fixed, Egyptian media outlets have pointed to November 29 as a possible date for the elections.

Source

tags: Parliamentary Elections / Badie / Egyptian Parliamen / Egyptian Regime / NDP / Gamal Mubarak / Egyptian Elections / MB Arrests / Egyptian Democracy / Democracy in Egypt / Abdul Monem Abdul Maqsoud / MB Members / MB Candidates / Government / Mohamed Habib / Moderate Muslim Brotherhood / Moderate MB
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