Egypt arrests 5 Islamists seeking to run in polls

Egyptian police detained five members of the Muslim Brotherhood trying to file lawsuits to make authorities accept their applications for candidacy in upcoming local elections, security sources said on Sunday.

Egypt arrests 5 Islamists seeking to run in polls
The men were detained outside the administrative court in the Nile Delta town of El Mansura, security sources said.

A Brotherhood source said the authorities had prevented the men from submitting their papers before a Thursday deadline, and described them as junior or mid-level members of the group's provincial leadership.

The Brotherhood says the state has systematically stopped many members from registering to stand by arresting large numbers of likely candidates, and through bureaucratic obstruction and police harassment.

Only about 480 out of 5,554 prospective Brotherhood candidates managed to file nomination papers in time, it says, adding there was no guarantee the names would actually appear on officials ballots for the elections, which are scheduled for April 8

The Brotherhood says about 1,000 of the group's members are now in custody. The state usually detains them without charge, often on suspicion of membership in a banned organisation, and subsequently releases them days or weeks later.

The White House, in a rare criticism of Egypt for policies against the Islamist group, said on Thursday it was concerned by opposition arrests. Cairo said the criticism reflected a "lack of understanding" of Egypt.

In the last few days various courts have issued hundreds of rulings in favour of people trying to stand, though court rulings are often not enforced.

Egypt postponed local council elections for two years in 2006 after the Brotherhood performed better than expected in a parliamentary election in 2005.

Agencies
Last Mod: 17 Mart 2008, 13:04
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