Human Rights Watch urges Egypt to avoid pre-election arrests

Human Rights Watch has sharply criticized Egyptian authorities for a series of "arbitrary" arrests of political opponents of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi ahead of next month's presidential election, which the group considers "unfair."

Monday's HRW statement urges for the release of Abdel-Monaem Abul Fetouh, a 2012 presidential candidate and prominent Islamist detained earlier this month along with several party leaders and placed on a "terrorism list" that bans them from travel and freezes their assets over alleged links to the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.

The U.S.-based rights group says the intensifying repression and the use of terrorism-related charges against peaceful activists reflect a government strategy to silence critical voices ahead of the election.

Abul Fetouh was the latest in a string of prominent opposition figures arrested since January.