Egypt presidential hopeful returns home

Egypt presidential hopeful returns home

The lawyer for an Egyptian presidential hopeful living in the United Arab Emirates says he has been arrested at his home and will be deported to Egypt.

Adly also said in her post that all lines of communication with Shafik had been shut down since Friday.

"Just because he announced he will run for president they deported him to Egypt and I don't know what will they do to him", she said.

Shafiq, 76, briefly served as prime minister under autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down in early 2011 following 18 days of popular demonstrations against his regime.

Supporters see Sisi, who is allied with UAE and Saudi Arabia, as key for Egypt's stability.

"(Shafik) took refuge in the UAE and ran away from Egypt after the results of the 2012 presidential election.

Details about what happened to Shafiq were unclear on Sunday. It said his family had remained behind in the Emirates. A Reuters witness said Egyptian authorities escorted him in a convoy from the airport.

A relative of Shafiq's told AFP that "we have no information about him".

She explained that these "officials" informed him that he must leave the UAE without his daughters while they told his daughters that they are welcome to stay in the UAE.

UAE authorities confirmed he left the Emirates without giving any details about why.

A spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry did not immediately answer a call seeking details.

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In the most recent statement, she detailed the circumstances that preceded his arrival to Cairo.

However, Shafiq's family is still in the UAE, said an unnamed official source cited in the ENA report.

Saudi Arabia denied those charges but the case prompted a political crisis in Lebanon and pushed the country back into centre stage of a regional power struggle between Riyadh with its Sunni Gulf allies and Iran.

After losing the closely contested 2012 election to Morsi, Shafik fled to the UAE.

Earlier this year, he brushed off widespread public criticism and ratified an agreement that cedes sovereignty over two uninhabited Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia.

If Shafiq does run for the presidency, he is seen as a strong potential opponent of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is expected to run for a second term next year.

A prominent military commander, he was appointed commander of the air force in 1996 and later minister of aviation in 2002.

It is the chief prosecutor's prerogative to investigate the complaint and, depending on his decision, refer Shafiq to trial. He has also been accused of "destabilizing" Egypt.

Charges were laid down against him, but he was acquitted of some, while the others were dropped.

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