Egypt arrests Brotherhood members

Arrests follow sweeps earlier in the week that netted 18 Brotherhood members.

    The Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt's strongest opposition group[AP]

    Brotherhood members running as independents to circumvent a ban on the group won nearly a fifth of the 454-seat lower house of parliament in 2005.


    Analysts say the government fears that unless it stops the Brotherhood now, the group will make more electoral gains that could help it eventually mount a serious challenge to Hosni Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party.


    "It is all because of the constitutional amendments," a Brotherhood spokesman said about the fresh arrests.


    The constitutional amendments would weaken the role of judges in monitoring elections. An anti-terrorism clause would give police sweeping powers of arrest and broad authority to monitor private communications.


    The proposed laws would also ban political activity based on religion, quashing Brotherhood hopes of acquiring legal standing as a recognised political party.


    The Brotherhood believes the proposed amendments, which parliament is expected to pass shortly, aim to block the group from mainstream national politics. The Brotherhood operates openly in Egypt despite being officially banned.


    Thursday's arrests followed sweeps earlier in the week that netted 18 Brotherhood members including Mahmoud Ghozlan, a senior leader and a member of the group's executive Guidance Council. 


    More than 300 Brotherhood members are now in detention, including third-in-command Khairat el-Shatir, who was referred last month to a military trial along with 39 others on charges including money laundering and terrorism.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.