Egypt arrests 'Islamist' students

Egypt has detained 11 university students on suspicion of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, the country's biggest opposition group.

    Authorities periodically crack down on the Brotherhood

    State security prosecutors jailed the students on Saturday for 24 hours pending investigation.

    Among the 11 was the son of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc in parliament, a court source said.

    The 11 students were also accused of possessing leaflets promoting the organisation's ideas and holding Brotherhood meetings.

    Dr Abd al-Munaim Abu al-Futuh, member of the guidance bureau of the Muslim Brothers' Party said he was not surprised by arrests since authorities periodically detain academics and students who express their opinions outside of campuses.

    'Unfortunate, irresponsible act'

    Calling the arrests an "unfortunate and irresponsible act" Abu al-Futuh said the move was counter-productive to Egypt's image as it claims to advocate reform, free speech and democracy.

    He urged Egyptian authorities to put an end to arrests and detentions based on political affiliations adding that such practices deprive students and younger generations of the right to free expression, their beliefs and political views.

    Although the Brotherhood has been banned since 1954, it has limited levels of toleration. Its members run for parliament as independents and hold more parliamentary seats than any other opposition group.

    But Egyptian authorities periodically crack down on members of the organisation – earlier in May, 50 members were arrested.

    Egypt accuses the Muslim Brotherhood of being an umbrella for more radical Islamist organisations. The group denies the charge.

    SOURCE: Aljazeera + Agencies


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