Published: Thu, February 15, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Strong Egypt Party head Abul Fotouh arrested on State Security Prosecution orders

Strong Egypt Party head Abul Fotouh arrested on State Security Prosecution orders

Egyptian security forces arrested former-Islamist presidential candidate and current head of the Strong Egypt Party, Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh, on Wednesday night for alleged ties with Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood (MB), state news agency MENA reported.

Five senior officials of Abu El-Fetouh's Strong Egypt party were also arrested, the officials said.

Thirteen local and global rights groups condemned Egypt's March presidential election on Tuesday, saying the race would neither be free nor fair.

Abol Fotouh quit the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011 to mount an independent bid for the presidency in 2012, and has distanced himself from the Islamist movement since then.

The vote six years ago marked Egypt's first competitive elections following the 2011 revolution, which overthrew former leader Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian authorities are widening a crackdown against opposition figures before next month's elections.

Aboul Fotouh was among other political figures who issued a statement condemning the election, saying it had lost its legitimacy following recent repressive practices imposed by the government, including the sidelining and arrest of opponents.

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"A boycott of this mockery is a duty, in our opinion, because we don't accept for Egyptians to participate in a farce", he said of the March vote.

During his first visit to Cairo this week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called for free and fair elections but did not comment on the concerns raised by rights groups.

Egypt's former chief auditor Hisham Genena was also detained on Tuesday for 15 days over his claims that the country's former army chief Sami Anan was in possession of "documents and evidence" that would undermine the country and its leadership.

Sources close to the election campaign of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi said the process of forming an alternative group to the Muslim Brotherhood began in prisons which led to attracting dozens of the group's youth and convincing them that the group had failed in managing the country's affairs.

However, Egypt's electoral commission vowed to run the election "according to principles of independence, transparency, and objectivity".

Abol Fotouh's party deputy, Mohamed al-Qassas, was detained last week and is being held pending an investigation, according to the party's Facebook page.

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