Cairo - More than 450 imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood
members launched a hunger strike on Monday over their "inhuman
treatment" after being jailed following the military's overthrow of
Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, the group said.
A Twitter account operated by the Brotherhood, which has
largely been driven underground by a massive crackdown, said prisoners have
been "banned from family visits, legal counselling, medical care and [live
in] overcrowded and unhygienic cells”.
Egyptian security forces have arrested thousands of
Islamists, including virtually the entire top leadership of Morsi's Muslim
Brotherhood, since he was deposed on 3 July.
The 85-year-old political and social movement prevailed
in a series of polls following the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, and
Morsi became the country's first freely elected leader after winning elections
But his turbulent year-long rule was deeply polarising,
and the military forced him from power after massive protests in which
demonstrators accused him of betraying the 2011 "revolution”.
The Brotherhood said several senior figures were taking
part in the strike, including the wealthy financier and onetime presidential
hopeful Khairat al-Shater, senior official Essam al-Erian, former legislator
Mohamed Beltagi and Essam al-Haddad, an advisor to Morsi during his presidency.
It did not say whether Morsi himself or the Brotherhood's
Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie were also taking part in the hunger strike.
Earlier this month Human Rights Watch said Egypt's
military-installed authorities had detained five Morsi aides for nearly five
months without disclosing their whereabouts, saying it amounted to an "enforced