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Egypt courts rule Muslim Brotherhood members can register for local elections

[JURIST] Several provincial Egyptian courts ruled Tuesday that members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood [party website; FAS backgrounder] must be allowed to register as candidates in the upcoming local council elections in April, even as Egyptian police continued arrests of group members. Egyptian police arrested at least 10 Brotherhood members on Wednesday, adding to the 54 members arrested last Tuesday and the 26 last Thursday [JURIST reports]. Across the country, only about 50 or 60 Brotherhood members have been able to register to stand in the election, and the group has accused the Egyptian government of systematically harassing members and obstructing their registration. Minister of Legal Affairs Moufid Shehab admitted that "mistakes or bureaucracy" had marred the registration process, but said that the court rulings "would be enforced immediately."

The provincial council elections were originally scheduled for 2006, but the Egyptian legislature passed a law [JURIST report] delaying the election for two years after the Muslim Brotherhood made a strong showing in the 2005 parliamentary elections. Muslim Brotherhood members officially run as independents in elections as the organization has been banned in Egypt [JURIST news archive] since 1954. The Egyptian government has accused the group of trying to create an Islamic theocracy through violence. Reuters has more.

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