Police arrest several Muslim Brotherhood members, sources say
|Wednesday, February 10,2010 11:13|
Brotherhood Deputy Leader Mahmoud Ezzat, and two members of the group's leadership council -- Essam Al-Aryan and Abdul Rahman Al-Barr -- were arrested around 1 a.m. Monday February 8, the sources said adding that police also detained several provincial leaders of the group.
The Egyptian Interior Ministry declined to comment.
The Muslim Brotherhood is banned because the Egyptian constitution deems religious-based political organizations illegal. The government allows it to operate but often cracks down on the group.
The organization's Web site says authorities arrested 5,032 members last year; most were later released.
In 2005, 88 candidates affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood won seats in the People's Assembly in what was seen as a stunning victory for the group, giving it 20 percent of the seats in the largely powerless body.
Parliamentary elections are planned for later this year, and analysts believe the government is eager to weaken the group before campaigning begins.
In January, the Muslim Brotherhood elected 66-year old veterinarian Dr. Muhamed Badie as its new Chairman Badie is considered by some as a conservative, who is hesitant to confront the regime of 81-year old President Hosni Mubarak.