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Egypt arrest eight activists on charge of plot to topple govt

CAIRO, Egypt: The Egyptian government has arrested eight people including prominent activists who were part of the country’s 2011 uprising.

The government has accused them of a plot to bring down the government.

The arrests drew condemnation from Amnesty International, which described Egypt as “an open-air prison” where no opposition or independent reporting was allowed.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior said Zyad Elelaimy, a former legislator and member of the secular Egyptian Social Democratic Party, was held along with seven other people.

The ministry accused them of having ties with Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt designated a “terrorist” group in 2013.

It added that the eight suspects were the most prominent figures arrested, but did not specify how many others were arrested.

Authorities said they had also identified and targeted 19 companies and “economic entities” run via “secret methods” by Muslim Brotherhood leaders and the “provocateur elements” loyal to it.

Elelaimy’s party was one of the main protest groups in the 2011 uprising that led to the departure of longtime ruler Hosni Mubarak, but it also opposed the government of Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader who became the country’s first freely elected president in 2012.

Morsi was toppled a year later in a military coup led by the then-army chief and current President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and was promptly arrested.

Last week, he collapsed during a court appearance in the capital, Cairo, and shortly afterwards was pronounced dead.

Morsi’s death prompted criticism of el-Sisi’s government, with human rights groups accusing it of mistreating the former president and failing to provide adequate medical care or prisoner rights, charges the Egyptian authorities have denied.

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