• Reports
  • November 30, 2005
  • 2 minutes read

Egypt: Amnesty International concerned about mass arrests and violent attacks

Egypt: Amnesty International concerned about mass arrests and violent attacks
As Egyptians go to the polls on 1 December in the final stage of parliamentary elections, Amnesty International expressed concern about mass arrests of opposition party supporters and activists and criticized the government for failing to ensure voters are free from violence, arbitrary arrests and intimidation.

Hundreds of people suspected of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), effectively the leading opposition organization, have been arrested since voting began in early November. Although officially banned, many candidates standing as independents are known to support the MB and areas in which the MB is known to have strong popular support have been the scene of mass arrests, including of several MB candidates. Up to 1500 MB activists and delegates of candidates were arrested in the last two weeks in various governorates, including Sharqiya, Duqahliya, Kafr Sheik, and Sohag, where the MB is putting up candidates for the final phase, and hundreds of others arrested earlier this month remain in detention. The current wave of arrests is reminiscent of a pattern which has seen previous mass arrests of Muslim Brothers at the time of presidential and parliamentary elections in an apparent attempt by the authorities to disrupt their election campaign.

Amnesty International is also concerned about the reaction of the authorities to the violence that broke out last week following clashes between supporters of different candidates. Scores of opposition supporters have been injured in attacks by rampaging government party supporters, often in front of police who, however, failed to take action to curb the violence or apprehend the perpetrators. Security officials are also reported to have prevented voters from casting their votes in some places and to have arrested local non-governmental election monitors or prevented them from accessing polling stations although they possessed official accreditation documents issued by the Ministry of Justice.

Amnesty International urges the government to take urgent and effective measures to prevent further human rights abuses and to ensure that Egypt’s security and law enforcement officers act impartially in upholding the law.