Muslim Brotherhood arrests and custody renewals prompt move
CAIRO: Members of Egypt’s opposition forces, including some 100 who are represented in parliament, are calling on the People’s Assembly (lower house of parliament) to convene an emergency meeting of its human rights committee, in protest of the rounding up of Muslim Brotherhood members.
In the past two weeks, custody was renewed for two top Muslim Brotherhood leaders who had been promised a pardon. Two dozen other junior and senior members were arrested; some were even picked up following a wedding.
On Thursday, the police raided a bookstore that sells Islamic books and tapes of sermons recorded by sheikhs in Minya, south of Cairo. According to Muslim Brotherhood sources, police forces stormed the bookstore whose owner is affiliated with the Brotherhood and confiscated books and tapes.
According to MiniaOnline, a Web site dedicated to a Muslim Brotherhood faction in Minya, people in the southern city were “astonished at the number of security police, and reproachful of their [raid] on such a respectful and valued bookshop. The Web site added that the police “are used to raiding Islamic bookshops, especially before the holy month of Ramadan.
Such behavior from security police is common Moussa Ghanoum, Muslim Brotherhood MP, was quoted as saying, “This is but one picture of the repression that the security is upholding and which should be reviewed and changed.
“The case against the Brothers that are temporarily arrested is strictly political, said Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maksoud, the group’s principle lawyer in a Brotherhood press release. “There is no basis for their arrest; there is no reason that backs their detainment anyway.
Muslim Brotherhood lawmakers and MPs have joined their fellows in requesting a meeting of parliament. The Islamic group claims that most of the arrests were unwarranted and the renewals of detention were unfounded.
Meanwhile, the prosecution has pressed charges against those arrested; membership in a banned group and propagating for unlawful ideas are on top of the list of charges.
“Detaining the Brothers is old news now, said Muslim Brotherhood leader and Supreme Guide Mohammed Mahdi Akef in a statement to the press Thursday. “[The arrests] never made us weaker. They gave us strength, faith and perseverance.
The Muslim Brotherhood, although represented through independent affiliates in parliament, is sometimes tolerated but essentially outlawed. The Muslim Brotherhood bloc is the largest opposition force in the lower house, a fact that has prompted the government to propose a law that would ban independent candidates from running in elections. The opposition deemed the proposal an attempt by the government to “throttle the group and limit their legal representation.