Public arrests of Muslim Brotherhood activists mark shift in strategy for Egypt

A recent wave of arrests of members of the Muslim Brotherhood party by Egyptian security officers reflect a shift in strategy towards the outlawed Egyptian group. More than 20 members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested over the past week in a new overt crackdown against them.

 “This is a new phenomenon,” said Ayman Abu Al Ghani, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who was arrested recently, according to the AFP.

 In the past, Ayman explained, arrests were made in suspects’ homes in the middle of the night, far from the eyes of the public.

 Ayman, however, was arrested along with his wife as they were picking up their children from school in a suburb of Cairo.

 Other arrests have been made in public areas such as coffee shops and markets. On occasion, families of detainees have been held hostage, Ayman explained. 

 “The family members were detained for four hours while the police searched their home.”

 “Now they are occupying homes in order to force their (Brotherhood members’) surrender,” he added.

 Muslim Brotherhood member Abdel Moneim Mahmoud was told that his family would be held hostage until he handed himself in to authorities.

 On Wednesday, a spokesman for the movement said that following a brief banning of the group’s mouthpiece publication, several members were arrested.

 Meanwhile, a court sentenced female journalist Amira Malash to one year in jail for libeling a judge.

 Egyptian human rights groups have condemned the government’s actions, labeling them another setback to Egypt’s reform drive.