Investigators probing the case of an Egyptian-US human rights and democracy activist, Saadeddin Ibrahim, have arrested four more people, bringing the number of suspects to 13, prosecutors said Thursday.
Ayman Abu Gabal, a lawyer from Ibrahim's Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies, and three employees of the non-governmental Women Voters' Support Center were arrested Wednesday evening and locked up for 15 days, they said.
The investigators said the four, one of them a woman, stand accused of receiving bribes from Ibrahim to forge voting cards.
Nine other people are also being detained in connection with the same case, including Ibrahim and seven other Ibn Khaldun Center employees and another employee at the women voters' center.
In the last two weeks, stacks of voting cards have been confiscated from both centers and investigators have accused Ibrahim of paying researchers to forge the cards and register fictitious names of voters on them.
The Ibn Khaldun Center is accused of receiving funds from foreign sources, including the European Union, which had sponsored a program to educate citizens about their civic rights.
The charges against Ibrahim read: "Forgery, fraud, taking bribes from abroad, harming the interests of the country and violating military order number four of 1992 prohibiting obtaining funds from foreign parties without authorization."
Ibrahim faces 15 years in prison if found guilty of the charges.
The US-based Human Rights Watch has condemned the Egyptian government for its crackdown on the two non-governmental organizations, describing it as a bid to "intimidate" them ahead of legislative elections in November - CAIRO (AFP)
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