Monday, 11 December, 2017

Former Egyptian PM Shafiq Returns To Cairo, Plans Presidential Campaign

Ahmed Shafiq 'arrested, to be deported from UAE' Emiratis Arrest Egyptian Presidential Candidate Ahmed Shafik, Lawyer Says
Howard Terry | 04 December, 2017, 01:29

Shafiq's family and lawyer said Sunday they had lost contact with him after what they called his deportation from the United Arab Emirates to Cairo, days after announcing his intention to run for president of Egypt next year.

In an announcement he made from the United Arab Emirates, Shafik said on Wednesday that he would run for president in the elections set to take place in April 2018.

Shafiq's lawyer Dina Adly said earlier on Saturday in an online statement that Shafiq was arrested at his home and was put on a private plane back to Cairo.

"He confirmed that his health was good and that he was not subjected to any investigations", she added, without mentioning the name of hotel where she met Shafik.

"I don't know anything about my father", she wrote.

He claimed that the UAE was preventing him from leaving the country to return to Egypt.

There has been at least one complaint against him lodged with the chief prosecutor, accusing him of inciting against the government and sowing divisions between Egypt and the UAE, Cairo's close ally and economic backer. "We presented him with every facility and generous hospitality despite our severe reservations about some of his positions", Gargash said.

UAE authorities confirmed he left the Emirates but gave no details.

Sahar Aziz, an associate professor of Law at Texas A&M University, said it was likely that there was some truth to Shafik's claim that he was barred from leaving the UAE. Critics say he has eroded freedoms gained after a 2011 uprising that ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak and jailed hundreds of dissidents.

A source at the Egyptian interior ministry said: "We do not know anything about Shafik".

"But in principle, he is free to represent himself to the electorate".

After four decades in the military, Shafik touted his military experience as one of his strengths in the 2012 vote. He departed to the UAE soon after his defeat fearing that he would be persecuted on corruption charges. He dismissed the charges as politically motivated and was taken off airport watchlists a year ago.

Shafik's lawyer on her Facebook page also said he had been taken from the family home.

Shafik is not the only person planning to challenge Sisi in the presidential election.

His supporters dismiss criticism over rights abuses and say any measures are needed for security in the face of an extremist insurgency that has killed hundreds of police and soldiers in the last four years.

But his government is fighting a stubborn Islamist militant insurgency in the Sinai region and has also enacted painful austerity reforms over the previous year to revive the economy but that critics say have dented his popularity.

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