CAIRO: Amnesty International called for the immediate and unconditional release of the Muslim Brotherhood members detained in raids before dawn on Monday.
Amnesty considers the Brotherhood members prisoners of conscious, detained merely for their peaceful political activities.
Prominent members of the Muslim Brotherhood including its Deputy Supreme Guide Mahmoud Ezzat and members of its Guidance Office including Essam El-Erian and Abdurahman Al-Barr were arrested Monday, as well as group leaders from various governorates.
Amnesty International calls on the Egyptian authorities to stop their crackdown on peaceful political dissent and uphold the rights to freedoms of expression, association and assembly in Egypt, an Amnesty statement read.
The statement comes a week before Egypt’s human rights records are reviewed in the framework of the Universal Periodic Review on Feb. 17.
The organization called on the UN Human Rights Council to “to give attention to the Egyptian authorities’ continuing misuse of emergency powers to quash opposition at home, the statement said.
Amnesty identifies an intensification of the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood in the lead up to the elections for parliament’s upper house, the Shoura Council, in Spring 2010 and lower house, the People’s Assembly, in Autumn 2010.
Muslim Brotherhood members are regularly subjected to arbitrary arrest and many are held under administrative detention orders for months without charge or trial on the order of the Minister of Interior, according to the statement.
The organization said it documented cases of members of the Muslim Brotherhood, all civilians, being brought to trial before military courts.
This, Amnesty said, violates the right to a fair and public hearing before a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law.
Martin Scheinin, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights while countering terrorism, criticized such trials in October 2009.
In November 2009, the Supreme Court of Military Appeals confirmed sentences of up to seven years’ imprisonment imposed on 18 leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood, who had been subjected to a “grossly unfair trial before a military court in Cairo in April 2008.
The organization said it has been denied permission to observe the trial of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood before military courts despite several attempts.