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Egyptian blogger arrested in widening crackdown

Source: Reuters - Tue, 3 Dec 2013 10:06 AM
Author: Reuters
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(Adds arrest warrants)

CAIRO, Dec 3 (Reuters) - A prominent Egyptian blogger said on Tuesday he had been arrested, the latest political activist to be detained in a widening crackdown on dissent by the army-backed government.

Egyptian authorities have extended a crackdown on Islamists, in which they have killed hundreds and arrested thousands since President Mohamed Mursi was ousted in July, to cover political activists who have become more vocal against the military.

In a recent tweet referring to the detention of another activist, the blogger, Ahmed Douma, described the government as criminal and said it would fall.

"I am now present in Basateen police station. I still don't know the accusation against me or the reason for my arrest," Douma said on Twitter.

The state news agency said Douma was detained in connection with violence at a protest outside a courthouse on Saturday where Ahmad Maher, a symbol of the popular uprising that ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011, turned himself in.

An order had been issued for Maher's arrest for defying a new law restricting demonstrations.

A Cairo prosecutor issued on Tuesday warrants for the arrest of 10 other activists, including Mohamed Adel, a top leader in Maher's April 6 youth group, which helped lead the revolt that ousted Mubarak.

Under Mursi's rule, Douma was detained over accusations of insulting the president in what activists called an example of the government using the courts to target its liberal and secular opponents.

On Thursday, police arrested activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, also known for his role in the anti-Mubarak uprising.

The new protest law has deepened unrest in the most populous Arab state. It gives the Interior Ministry the right to ban any meeting of more than 10 people in a public place. (Reporting by Michael Georgy, editing by Elizabeth Piper)

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