Egypt has detained at least 38 members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood ahead of elections due on Sunday for four open parliament seats that the Brotherhood is contesting, security sources said on Thursday.
The sources said the men were detained over the past two days in Kafr al-Sheikh in the Nile Delta and in the northern port city of Alexandria. A Brotherhood spokesman put the number of arrests at 44 and said they all took place on Wednesday.
The arrests came as Egypt prepares to hold elections on Sunday in Alexandria and Kafr el-Sheikh for four parliament seats vacant since 2005, when voting was halted following a legal challenge.
Security sources said those detained had been taking part in campaign events for Brotherhood candidates. Some were accused of belonging to a "banned organisation" while others were accused of planning a public march without a permit, the sources said.
The Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, won a fifth of the seats in parliament in 2005 elections marred by violence. The banned group advocates turning Egypt into an Islamic state through the ballot box.
Since the 2005 vote, Egyptian authorities have prosecuted leading members of the Brotherhood in military tribunals and arrested thousands of members and supporters. They have also prevented Islamists from winning more elected positions.
Last Mod: 11 Temmuz 2008, 08:59