News24

Egypt security beat up activists

2010-03-26 11:26

Cairo - Egyptian state security prevented activists from holding a symbolic "trial" of Egypt's ruling party on Thursday, using force to disperse those who tried to resist, activists said.

Security men in civilian clothes beat some of the activists who gathered to hold the event at a lawyers' club south of Cairo.

The symbolic trial of Egypt's National Democratic Party (NDP) was aimed at highlighting state oppression before a parliamentary election later this year, the activists said.

"Such trials aim to expose the failed policies of the National Party, which we consider to be the cause of economic corruption, social disruption and the delay in Egyptian political life," lawyer Muntasar al Zayaat, who co-ordinated the event, said.

A state security source said the activists did not have a permit to gather. The Interior Ministry had no immediate comment on the incident.

Government officials say elections in Egypt are fair but rights groups cite widespread violations whenever Egyptians go to the polls.

Abuse of power

President Hosni Mubarak, 81 and who has been in power for almost three decades, has not said if he will run for a sixth six-year term in the 2011 presidential election.

Many Egyptians believe that, if he does not, he will try to hand power to his politician son. Both Mubaraks deny any such plan.

A report on corruption in Egypt released last week by Transparency International, a Berlin-based group, said Egypt's efforts to combat the abuse of power were blighted by political interference, weak enforcement of laws and a lack of access to public information.

The activists said when they arrived at the meeting hall, it was deserted and flooded with water. When they tried to hold the trial on the sidewalk outside, security men cordoned off the area.

"Some of those who tried to resist security were beat up," said former judge Mahmoud Khudairi.

Khudhairi resigned last year in protest against government interference in judicial and political matters.