Friday, February 16, 2007

Crackdown on MB Deepens

Arrests of Muslim Brothers is a recurring story in Egypt, but the number and intensity of the current crackdown seems to indicate something different about this one. The organization announced Friday that 81 members were detained this week.

Among the detainees is Doctor Gamal Abdul Salam (Secretary-General of relief committee in Arab Doctors' Union and an ex-Muslim Brotherhood candidate in 2005 People's Assembly elections for Qasr Al-Neel constituency). The detainees were ordered held for 15 days pending investigation on charges of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood group and inciting the public opinion against the regime, according to the MB's website.

The arrests brings the total of MB arrests in recent months to 300.

As with all crackdown on the banned organization, the question always is why now? On some past occasions, the arrests have been a straightforward effort to prevent MB members from running for office. And that could be the case now. In April, Egyptians go to the polls to elect members to the shura council. The process will also effect proposed constitutional changes that are important to the Mubarak government.

One last thing: I want the underscore the charge of "inciting public opinion against the government." A lot of people don't like the Muslim Brothers. Their politics scare a lot of American policymakers. But when when people get arrested for things like "inciting public opinion against the government," that's when you need to put away political considerations and do the needed human rights and democracy activism.

For more on the story from the Muslim Brothers website, click here.

Here's the BBC's report on the arrests.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home