CAIRO: The campaign supporting former IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei to run for President and promoting his reform demands said in a statement that security had bugged their offices.
Recording devices were allegedly planted in the office of the campaign’s general coordinator Abdul Rahman Yusuf to spy on him and the keep records of the his meetings and activities, the statement said on Saturday.
“As part of the regime’s persistence to oppress and disperse the voice of the opposition and calls for democracy … the campaign for supporting ElBaradei discovered a security plot to infiltrate the campaign and disrupt it from the inside.”
“This is a regular procedure practiced by the regime, that lacks legitimacy and doesn’t respect the law or the constitution,” Yusuf told Daily News Egypt.
“We [the campaign] are the first to have the courage to uncover such a [violation],” he said.
Yusuf refused to specify how the recording devices were discovered.
“There are [many] methods to discover recording devices starting from coincidence to using modern equipment that detect [these devices] or being tipped by a member who sympathizes and supports the campaign,” he said. “I would prefer not to mention exactly how the devices were found.”
ElBaradei supported Youssef on his Twitter account saying that “this is a predictable method by a regime whose only option is using force.”
El Baradei addressed Yusuf and members of the campaign in the same message saying “Untie forces. Our battle is between right and wrong. We will prevail.”
The campaign also accused the regime of planting spies within the campaign to stir up sedition and cause friction between its members.
“It has been confirmed that there have been members planted within the campaign by security forces to report information regarding the campaign and record the activists’ meetings,” the statement said.
“We know [the spies] that have been planted among us… and we have our methods on how to deal with them,” Yusuf said.
Yusuf added that “the campaign will go on and our doors will remain open to any volunteers so we can reach real change.”
Designated officials at the Ministry of Interior were not available for comment by press time.
Yusuf said that the legal counselors of the campaign are still debating whether it would be “effective” to file a complaint to the public prosecutor about violating Yousef’s privacy and private property or not.
Karima Al Hifnawy, member of the National Association for Change (NAC) , founded by ElBaradei, and the Kefaya Movement for Change, told Daily News Egypt, “We at NAC and Kefaya expect that the government records the meetings and that our cell phones are tapped.”
“This is expected from an autocratic, corrupt and obscene regime,” she said.
“This regime will vigorously do whatever it takes to preserve its stability and interests and guarantee that no other regime will replace it or even attempt to hold it accountable for the corruption and the squandering of Egypt’s resources,” she added
The campaign titled “Together for change” was launched to support the former Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei as Egypt’s next president and to help collect one million signatures supporting ElBaradei’s seven demands for political reform.
These demands include judicial supervision over the elections, easing restrictions on independent candidates and putting an end to the emergency law.
The campaign’s Facebook page has 260,000 members and over 118,000 have signed ElBaradei’s demands for change through the website and campaigners. Last September, the Muslim Brotherhood said it had collected over 700,000 signatures for the same petition for change.