A group of imprisoned youth members of the Muslim Brotherhood has issued a new letter calling on prominent public figures to mediate with Egyptian authorities in order to secure their release.
The statement is addressed to the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmed al-Tayyeb, and a number of “religious, media and political figures,” including former presidential candidate Mohammed Salim Al-Awa, Salafi Sheikh Mohammed Hassan, and chair of the Supreme Media Regulatory Council Makram Mohamed Ahmed.
It calls on the public figures to form a mediation committee to negotiate between the state and imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood youth in order to create a roadmap to “end this crisis.” In the plea, the imprisoned youth say they will agree to whatever conditions the mediation committee comes up with to secure their release.
It comes a few weeks after a letter, claiming to represent 1,350 imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood youth was published online on August 15. It called on the group’s leadership to open talks with the government and resolve the ongoing conflict with authorities. In response, a number of Brotherhood leaders rushed to cast doubt on the authenticity of the letter, claiming that it was cooked up by security agencies.
In the most recent statement, the imprisoned youth said they were “shocked by the denials and accusations of treason by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood abroad in response to the first letter.”
Another letter, this one by the families of imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood youth, published on August 19, called on authorities to release their relatives in exchange for a pledge to never again participate in politics, as well as a hefty donation to a state-run fund from each prisoner.
Thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members have languished for years behind bars in substandard prison conditions, with trials that rights organizations have widely criticized as unfair and lacking in due process.
Meanwhile, neither the Egyptian government nor the senior leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood — all of whom are in prison or exile — have welcomed the idea of negotiations aimed at reaching some form of reconciliation after the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and the massacre of hundreds of his supporters by the military and police in Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda squares.
The most recent statement ends with a plea to the media to consider the proposals seriously and to accurately report on them. “Put your differences and personal opinions aside, and consider the public interest over your personal interests,” it says.