Egypt arrests senior Muslim Brotherhood figure Essam El-Erian in continuing crackdown on Islamists

 

Egyptian authorities have detained senior Muslim Brotherhood figurer Essam El-Erian - the latest arrest in a government crackdown against the Islamist movement.

Erian, the deputy leader of the Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice party, was this morning taken into custody from a residence in New Cairo where he had been in hiding.

Speaking to the Reuters news agency, an Interior Ministry source said: "Yes, he's been arrested and details will soon be released".

The state news agency MENA said Erian was arrested in New Cairo but gave no further details. Local media circulated a photo of what they described as the moment he was arrested, showing a smiling Erian standing next to a bed with two packed duffle bags.

Many Brotherhood leaders have been detained and charged with inciting violence since the army, prompted by mass protests, deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi on July 3.

At least 1,000 people, including security forces, were killed in the violence that followed Mursi's ouster. Hundreds of his supporters were killed when police forces stormed two protest camps, calling for Mursi's reinstatement, on August 14.

Mursi, Erian and 12 other Brotherhood leaders are expected to go on trial on Monday on charges of inciting violence.

The charges relate to the deaths of about a dozen people in clashes outside the presidential palace last December after Mursi enraged protesters with a decree expanding his powers.

An Egyptian court in September banned the Muslim Brotherhood group and seized their funds to try to crush the movement, which the government accuses of inciting violence and terrorism.

Brotherhood leaders accused the army of staging a coup and undermining democratic gains made since a popular uprising toppled veteran autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Mursi's followers also accuse the government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and taking the country back to the days of Mubarak, who ruled with an iron fist for three decades.

Human rights groups and some liberal politicians have expressed alarm over a draft law under debate that would place severe restrictions on protests.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the law would give police carte blanche to ban protests in Egypt.

“This draft law would effectively mandate the police to ban all protests outright and to use force to disperse ongoing protests,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch.

“The final law will be an important indicator of the extent to which the new government is going to allow for political space in Egypt.”

Additional reporting Reuters

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Parts Supervisor & Advisor - Automotive

£16500 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's leading...

Recruitment Genius: Housing Assistant

£16819 - £21063 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager - OTE £60,000

£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In 2014, they launched the worl...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Design Lead

£23958 - £29282 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones