Egypt on Saturday began questioning 16 leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood after their arrest in the latest clampdown on the the country's main opposition movement.
The men, including senior figures Essam al-Aryan and Mahmoud Hussein, were arrested in a police swoop at the home of a fellow Brotherhood member in Cairo late on Friday.
"This is yet another hard blow for us," the organisation's number two, Mohammed Habib, told AFP.
Hundreds of members of the Brotherhood have been rounded up in recent weeks, many at summer camps.
The 16 are expected to be charged with belonging to and financing a banned organisation and holding a meeting to plan illicit activities, a judicial source told AFP.
The Brothers said they were arrested at a routine meeting.
The source said the investigating magistrate would question the men, who can be held without charge for an initial period of 15 days, before deciding on the exact charges.
The latest arrests came as 40 other members -- mainly businessmen -- are being tried in a military tribunal, accused of financing a banned organisation and money laundering.
A hearing took place earlier this month on a military base behind closed doors despite protests by rights groups barred from attending the politically charged trial, which is set to resume on Sunday.
Amnesty International has called on Mubarak to allow independent observers to witness the proceedings. The defendants -- including the Brotherhood's number three leader, Khayrat al-Shater -- could face the death penalty if convicted.
Last Mod: 19 Ağustos 2007, 14:55