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Egyptian authorities cracking down on dissidents

The Egyptian Security Services arrested, Thursday, the former Assistant to Egyptian Foreign Minister Masoum Marzouk, after storming his house. They then took him to an undisclosed location, according to activists on social networking sites. They also announced the arrest of opposition economist Raed Salama.

Several Egyptian sources confirmed the information about Marzouk, where the Egyptian jurist Khaled Ali said on his Facebook account that he knew about the arrest of Marzouk and Salama from their families. The former Egyptian politician Hamdeen Sabahi also confirmed the arrest of the former Assistant to the Minister.

Marzouk launched a political initiative last July, which sparked controversy among the Egyptian public for the proposals included, which Marzouk considered fair and realistic.

Marzouk's initiative included a referendum on the continuation of the current regime headed by Abdel Fattah el-Sisi by the 2014 constitution. The legitimacy of this regime should be granted if the people accept its continued rule.

Otherwise, a law should be issued to disrupt the constitution and abolish all laws published since 2014, and a presidential council that sponsors the writing of a new constitution and the election of a new president should be established, according to the initiative.

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Immediately after the announcement of the action, which some opposition movements welcomed, some pro-authority lawyers filed a complaint to investigate Marzouk's allegations of "disturbing" state security and spreading "false news and disrupting national security." All of these charges have left thousands of Egyptian political and human rights activists in jail since the coup in 2013.

The Egyptian authorities prevented the media from dealing with the provisions of the Marzouk initiative. The pro-government press strongly attacked him and accused him of coordinating with the Muslim Brotherhood and coping with anti-government media, such as television channels broadcast from Turkey and Qatar.

The series of arrests was completed after the Egyptian security services arrested the leftist opponent Kamal Khalil from his home about an hour after he demanded the release of Marzouk and Salama on his Facebook page. The Egyptian authorities also arrested later today a member of the opposition movement "9 March," Dr Yahya Al-Qazzaz, when he was offering condolence at one of his relatives' funeral.

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