A leader of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political wing of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood party, died after being shot by Egyptian security forces, Al Jazeera Arabic reported Thursday. In a statement on its website, the Freedom and Justice Party gave the name of the leader as Dr. Mujahid Hassan Zaki.
Zaki was arrested Monday in his apartment in Cairo, where he worked at a company that distributes supplies, the party's statement said, citing Zaki's family. They said they received a call Wednesday evening informing them that his body, with shots to the chest and back, had arrived at a hospital in Beni Suef, a city along the Nile roughly 90 miles south of Cairo. A doctor determined Zaki had died from five shots to the stomach and back two days before. He was 30 years old and had two children, age 3 and 5, according to the party statement. It's unclear when he died.
"Militias of the coup killed Dr. Mujahid Zaki," the Freedom and Justice Party proclaimed in a post on its Facebook page, in a reference to when the Egyptian army ousted the democratically elected president and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi in July 2013. After the coup, the army took control of the country, and in June 2014, the chief of the armed forces, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, assumed the presidency.
Immediately after Morsi's ouster, Egyptian security forces arrested the head of the Freedom and Justice Party, along with a deputy leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Reuters reported at the time. It also issued warrants to arrest some 300 members of the Brotherhood, referred to informally as the Ikhwan, the Arabic word for "brothers." Since then, the government has continued its crackdown, often violently, against the party and its supporters. In the Rabaa massacre of Aug. 14, 2013, security forces moved in on an encampment of supporters and killed possibly more than 1,000 people.
Two months later, the government arrested a deputy leader of the Freedom and Justice Party. It has blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood and tried members for the killing of protesters. The spree of detainments continues to the present. In August, Sisi approved new, strict anti-terrorism legislation that critics have said will be used to muzzle dissent, even as the country faces a rising threat from a branch of the Islamic State group in the Sinai Peninsula.
In July, security forces killed nine members of the Brotherhood and arrested 21 midlevel members across Egypt, the Daily News Egypt reported. The organization Human Rights Watch found that Egyptian authorities have imposed not only extremely long periods of pretrial detentions on Brotherhood members and anti-government activists but also at least 547 death sentences that often involve "mass trials involving alleged Brotherhood supporters and other Islamists."