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Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood

Volume 473: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received on the alleged detention of members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; what assessment his Department has made of the effect that this may have on the forthcoming municipal elections in Egypt; what discussions (a) he, (b) his officials and (c) UK representatives in Cairo have had with the Government of Egypt on the matter; and if he will make a statement. (192652)

We are aware of the recent arrests of Muslim Brotherhood members. While my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary has not raised the issue, UK officials raised the Government’s concerns about the arrests with the Egyptian embassy on 27 February 2008. We regularly raise human rights issues with the Egyptian Government through officials in London and Cairo. My hon. Friend the Minister for the Middle East my hon. Friend the Member for Pontypridd (Dr. Howells) raised a number of the Government’s human rights concerns directly with the visiting Speaker of the Egyptian Parliament on 21 January 2008. He also looks forward to these issues being discussed at the forthcoming EU-Egypt political sub-committee established under the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan.

We encourage the Egyptian authorities to ensure that the forthcoming municipal elections are conducted freely, fairly and transparently.