9 Feb 2010

Brotherhood leaders detained

12:07 pm on 9 February 2010

Thirteen senior members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been arrested in Egypt.

A newly-elected deputy leader was among those detained in early morning raids on Monday.

Leaders of the Islamist organisation, which is officially banned, have said they expect to be targeted by state security ahead of elections due later this year.

The BBC reports the Brotherhood was officially outlawed in 1953, but its members have many seats in parliament, sitting as independents.

A spokesman said the arrests were an attempt by the authorities to thwart its preparations for elections later in the year. Supporters are routinely arrested.

Brotherhood members standing as independent candidates won 20% of the seats in the last parliamentary election in 2005 - its best ever result.