Egyptian security forces arrested 8 members of the Muslim Brotherhood on Thursday after searching their homes and confiscating their computers, CDs and books, a spokesman for the group said today.
The arrested members had launched an online campaign called “Amal Al Omah” (The Nation’s Hopes) (www.amlalommah.net/) calling on the prosecution of the head of security in Alexandria for police violations, Hamdy Hassan, the group’s spokesman for the parliamentary bloc, told Reuters.
“(Those arrested) are the ones heading the campaign calling for the prosecution of the head of security in Alexandria,” Hassan said, adding that 10 members headed the campaign, but 2 were not present in their homes. The death of Khaled Said, 28, on June 6 in Alexandria, whom rights groups said died due to police brutality, has sparked public protests. The opposition has used the case to call for an end to emergency law which they say gives police impunity and stifles dissent.
The daily al-Masry al-Youm had earlier cited the Brotherhood’s lawyer, Khalaf Bayoumi, saying the arrests came after the group gathered 100,000 signatures calling on the prosecution of the head of security in Alexandria. The official state news agency MENA said the 8 members were arrested “for possessing publications containing ideas that could threaten national security.”
The Brotherhood, though banned, is widely seen as the only opposition group capable of mobilising thousands of disciplined supporters in protest against the government.
The government of president Hosni Mubarak, whose predecessor was gunned down by Islamic militants, is wary of any group with Islamist leanings, including the Brotherhood which long ago renounced violence and insists it seeks peaceful reform.