22 women Islamists held before Morsi trial
01 November 2013, 17:33
Alexandria - Egypt has detained 22 women members of the
Muslim Brotherhood, a security official said on Friday, fuelling tensions days
before deposed President Mohammed Morsi and 14 other leaders of the Islamist
group go on trial.
Security forces have arrested thousands of Islamists since
the army toppled Morsi on3 July. But
they rarely detain women Islamists, especially in such big numbers.
Nasser al-Abd, a senior security official in Egypt's second
city Alexandria, said the charges against the women include using force to
disrupt traffic during protests, membership of an outlawed group and
distributing illegal leaflets.
A lawyer representing the suspects said they were aged
between 15 and 25. They were detained on Thursday morning.
Islamists and human rights groups accuse the army of staging
a coup and returning Egypt to the days of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled with an iron
fist for three decades before he was toppled in a popular uprising in 2011.
The army says it was responding to mass protests against Morsi,
Egypt's first freely elected leader, and has set out a plan leading to what it
says will be free and fair elections.
"We are living in oppression and darkness. I can't
believe that my daughter did not go home with me and I don't believe that they
made the girls kneel and held up pistols to them," said Um Yumna, whose
15-year-old daughter was detained.
"May God avenge this and hurt their hearts like they
Abd denied the women had been mistreated. "We are
treating them with the utmost respect, like our own children. We let their
parents visit them," he said.
Call for Daily protests
Hundreds of Islamists have been killed and the Brotherhood's
leaders have been imprisoned. Egypt has also declared a state of emergency and
imposed a night-time curfew.
Morsi’s supporters have called for daily protests starting
on Friday until the ousted president stands trial on Monday.
The trial is likely to deepen hostility between the
Brotherhood and the army-backed interim government as it struggles to restore
stability in the most populous Arab state.
The Brotherhood and its allies have urged crowds to gather
on Monday outside a police institute near Cairo's notorious Tora prison, where
the trial is expected to take place.
The charges relate to the deaths of about a dozen people in
clashes outside the presidential palace in December after Morsi enraged his
opponents with a decree expanding his powers.
Morsi has been held in a secret location since his
overthrow. In that time Islamist militants have staged almost daily attacks
against security forces in the Sinai Peninsula.
Supporters and opponents of the Brotherhood have often
clashed in the streets.
A court order has banned the Brotherhood, Egypt's oldest and
best organised Islamist movement, and seized its funds.
The Brotherhood denies any links with violent activity.