Senior Muslim Brotherhood official and Vice-President of the Freedom and Justice Party Essam El-Erian has been arrested by the coup authorities in Egypt. According to security sources, El-Erian was detained while visiting one of his friends in eastern Cairo. The interior ministry said that its officers faced no resistance during the operation, after which the Brotherhood leader was taken to Tora Prison.
The arrest came a few days before the trial of ousted president Mohammed Morsi, which is set to begin on Monday. General Ahmed Helmi described the arrest of El-Erian as a “serious blow” to the Muslim Brotherhood. He will be charged with inciting violence against protestors, Helmi added.
Muslim Brotherhood sources told Turkey’s Anadolu news agency that the arrest will not affect the National Alliance for the Defence of Legitimacy, the Muslim Brotherhood or its Freedom and Justice Party.
Most senior leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested after the military coup against freely-elected Islamist President Morsi. All of the Islamist broadcasters, newspapers and radio stations have since by closed down by the coup authorities.