The government, apparently trying to weaken its opponents before elections, arrested 14 opposition candidates Monday - people it linked to Islamic extremists.
The candidates - nine of whom were active in unions controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood, the nation’s largest Islamic group - were picked up in dawn raids in Cairo and other provinces, the group said.
All were expected to run as independent candidates for parliamentary elections in November.
The Interior Ministry accused the men of “helping terrorist elements” by giving Muslim extremists’ families money and trying to establish contact with fugitive militant leaders to provide money for more attacks.
It also accused the men of writing subversive leaflets and claimed it had seized fax machines, computer diskettes and business cards of foreign diplomats working as “intelligence elements.”
The Muslim Brotherhood, which claims tens of thousands of supporters, is officially banned but has been tolerated by President Hosni Mubarak’s government and even allowed to participate in elections in coalition with other parties.
It has renounced violence in its pursuit of a state ruled by Islamic law.
Since January, the government has cracked down on the group, apparently to discredit it before elections for the 488-member parliament.