Egypt: MB leaders face further investigations
|Monday, February 22,2010 20:42|
According to their top defense lawyer, Abdul Moneim Abdul Maksoud, Deputy Chairman Mahmoud Ezzat and other MB leaders detained earlier this month in government raids, have been transferred to the local prosecution office where they face further investigations.
According to the Brotherhood, neither Ezzat nor the others detained, including popular leader Essam el-Erian, have made any statements to prosecutors. The statement said that “all accusations were meaningless and false and they had nothing new to add.”
Top leaders, including deputy Ezzat, spokesman Erian and Abdel Rahman al-Bar were detained in early dawn raids two weeks ago. Government prosecutors have charged the three leaders, and 12 others, with attempting to form a sub-group of the Brotherhood that aimed to carry out terrorist attacks against domestic Egyptian targets. All charges have been denied by the Brotherhood.
Maksoud said the political conflict erupting between the ruling government and the Brotherhood “should be through ballot boxes in free, fair and transparent elections and not through illegal court channels.”
He added that all the “MB want is for the public to decide how to live and for who to rule them.”
Analysts have repeatedly said the government is attempting to weaken the group in the eyes of the public ahead of Parliamentary elections in November. Diaa Rashwan, a top Islamic parties scholar at the al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, was quoted by local press as saying this recent crackdown and arrest campaign is “similar to what happened in 1995, some 10 months before Parliamentary elections.”
“These arrests are aimed to silence all opposing voices of the honorable citizens; hence we call upon all the national forces to condemn these campaigns, expose it and unite together in the face of tyranny and corruption,” the group said.
One activist, who asked not to be named, said the leaders were arrested after they had called for greater participation in government from other opposition parties and groups.
“The week before they were arrested, Erian had announced the Brotherhood would support candidates from other parties this November in an effort to ensure greater democracy in the country,” said the activist, who has close ties with Egyptian political leaders. “The government does not want them to do this because that would mean opening up more options for president if other parties have greater representation in Parliament.”
The Brotherhood said the measures taken by the government are an attempt to “distort the reputation and dignity of Egypt and deprive the citizens from effectively playing their creative roles in the interests of the nation and homeland.”