Egypt: New government crackdown on MB leadership
|Tuesday, February 9,2010 07:17|
Al Jazeera reports that Egyptian security forces have detained at least 13 members of the Muslim Brotherhood. The arrests are widely seen as the start of an effort by the Egyptian government to crackdown on Egypt’s most powerful opposition group ahead of parliamentary elections. Those arrested included Essam Al-Erian, Abdul-Rahman Al-Barr, and Mahmoud Ezzat, the organization’s newly elected deputy leader. Though a banned political entity, the Muslim Brotherhood won one-fifth of the seats in the 2005 parliamentary elections, running as independent candidates. An anonymous police official acknowledged that detainees were arrested for engaging in banned political activity.
Mohamed Al-Katatni, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s guidance bureau commented on the arrests, “This is part of the state’s campaign against the group. The group is now getting ready for parliamentary elections and this campaign is to stem such activities.” Mohammed Badie, the Muslim Brotherhood’s General Guide, fears that the recent arrests will negatively affect the ability of the organization to succeed in upcoming parliamentary elections.
Gregg Carlstrom from the Majlis reports that "This is likely the first wave of arrests according to a police official who asked to remain anonymous". Muslim Brotherhood lawyer Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud has issued a statement saying, “the campaign of arrests is unjustified and we expect that more people have been arrested as Brotherhood lawyers are still receiving the names of those detained from the various governorates” Carlstrom speculates that the arrest of Ezzat, a conservative, was a message to Mohammed Badie, the organization’s new Chairman. Shadi Hamid supports Carlstrom’s theory saying that Ezzat’s arrest has one of two meanings: either the start of wide crackdowns or that the current regime “has no idea” what it is doing. This is the first high-profile arrest of Brotherhood members since the election of Mohammed Badie as the group’s Chairman.