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Activists arrested for demanding democratic reform

(ANHRI/IFEX) - Cairo, August 9, 2010 - The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) expressed deep condemnation today for the unfair crackdown launched by the Egyptian SSI in Alexandria on a group of Muslim Brotherhood members. Six of them were arrested for calling on citizens to sign the seven demands of democratic reform proposed by the National Assembly for Change.

In the morning of August 8, SSI members raided the houses of nine members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Alexandria. The nine members participated in the campaign of the National Assembly for Change by calling for the signing of the assembly's reform demands. SSI arrested six members of the group for calling for democratic reform and asking citizens to participate in the campaign and sign the statement of change. Three others were not at home at the time of the raid.

The arrested citizens are Ali Abdel-Fattah, Mohamed Kamal Khamis, Farraj Abu Aaron, Atef Abu Eid, Essam Ali and Sayed Abul Hasan.

Reacting to the arrests, ANHRI said, "Security forces have started a series of crackdowns to suppress callers of reform and democracy. It seems that reform demands have become the worst crime, especially outside Cairo. This crackdown comes a few days after the arbitrary arrest and interrogation of 15 democracy activists in Alexandria for allegations of 'threatening public peace and security'. Seven were released, six were detained for 15 days and two bailed out for EGP 10,000. The misdemeanour court unconditionally released two of them on August 8. This affirms the government's intention of inhibiting and pursuing opponents before the forthcoming public elections and preventing any competitors from taking part in free elections".

ANHRI expressed deep worry that the security forces have already started striking hard on democracy and the right to express and contribute in Egypt. The list of prisoners of conscience is growing longer to include citizens who have done nothing but enjoy their right in calling for democratic reform in a peaceful manner. ANHRI warned the government that wasting the law, overlooking human rights principles and blocking all peaceful reform routes will only result in more violence and frustration in society, and risk plunging the Egyptian nation into chaos.

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