State confirms arrest of 9 Muslim Brotherhood members after secretly detaining them for days

Egypt’s State Security Agency officially confirmed the arrest of several prominent Muslim Brotherhood members on Sunday, after quietly detaining and interrogating them for a few days.

Six Brotherhood leaders and three other members, including Mohamed Abdel Rahman al-Morsi, the second highest ranking leader of the organization outside prison, have been jailed for 15 days on charges of affiliation to a banned organization, according to the state-owned Al-Akhbar newspaper.

The nine defendants, who also include a member of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Bureau, were interrogated for over 20 hours before the state announced their detention.

Security forces arrested Abdel Rahman al-Morsi, Mohamed Amer, Galal Mostafa, Ahmed Gaballa, Amr al-Serawy, Hamdy al-Dahshan and Ezzat Sayed Abdel Fattah on Thursday, but did not announce their arrest for a few days, a move that may present a challenge to ongoing discussions about reconciliation between the Brotherhood and the state. The Brotherhood’s deputy leader Ibrahim Mounir said the organization is serious about negotiations, which include “wise men” who are helping broker a deal between the two parties.

Abdel Rahman al-Morsi was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia in 2015 for allegedly planning a coup against the government. He disappeared for a while, resurfacing months later as part of a newly-formed committee to deal with internal rifts within the Brotherhood. In mid December 2015, he ordered the suspension of all Brotherhood members affiliated with Mohamed Kamal’s faction, a Brotherhood front advocating for the use of violence. But this only served to deepen tensions within the organization.

Ikhwan Online, the Muslim Brotherhood’s official website said they hold Egypt’s authorities responsible for the safety and wellbeing of Morsi and the other detainees, adding that their arrests “will not be the last stop on the road of revolutionary struggle to liberate the Egyptian people from oppression and subjugation under the treacherous military coup.”