Nine members of banned Muslim Brotherhood arrested in Egypt
Nine members of Egypt's banned Muslim Brotherhood, the country's largest opposition group, were arrested within 24 hours of one another, media reports and the group said on Sunday, dpa reported.
Official state media said three members were arrested in the northern coastal city of Alexandria on Sunday for "their attempt to revive the group's activities, promoting wrong ideas, and possession of publications containing beliefs that would endanger social peace."
The group, which was founded in Egypt more than 80 years ago, said that another six members arrested Saturday were given 15 days of prison after being charged with belonging to a politically banned organisation.
Security forces raided members' homes in different cities throughout the country, and seized some of their books and personal computers, the group said.
The Muslim Brotherhood is banned from participating in politics in Egypt, but its members ran as independents in 2005.
They won 88 seats, nearly a fifth of the seats in the People's Assembly, making the group the largest opposition bloc in the legislature.
Egyptian security forces routinely arrest Muslim Brotherhood members, but rights groups have criticised the approach, saying that it is politically motivated.
The latest round of arrests occurred just weeks before the government, led by President Hosny Mubarak's National Democratic Party, is expected to announce whether parliamentary elections will take place in October or November.
The country's opposition is divided between groups that have urged a boycott of the parliamentary elections and those who plan to participate in them.
Some members of the Brotherhood have said that since the opposition parties are divided on the boycott, they will field independent candidates and encourage people to vote.