Thursday, February 15, 2018

The winter of fury : The arrest of Abou El-Fotouh "Updated"

Egypt's High State security prosecution ordered on Thursday the detention of former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh 15 days pending investigations into charges of spreading false news and leading a banned organization. 

Originally I was planning to write this post about the arrest of Egypt’s ex-top auditor Hesham Geneina but I ended up Wednesday night following in disbelief the arrest of the former Presidential candidate and leader of Strong Egypt Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh.

It started with a small yet alarming Facebook post by Hozaifa Abu El-Fotouh at 10:13 PM Wednesday Cairo local time saying that his father Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh and the members of the political bureau of Strong Egypt Party.

At 12:25 AM, Hozaifa Abu El-Fotouh reported that all the of members of the political bureau that were arrested earlier were released while his father remained in custody.

According to news reports, they were arrested at his house in New Cairo while they were having meeting after his return from London two days ago. “several politicians have been arrested nowadays from New Cairo as far as I could tell !!”
Abdel Moneim Abu El-Fotouh speaks in his presser
Abdel Moneim Abou E-Fotouh in a presser in 2012

At first, there was no obvious reason on why the former MB leading figure and former presidential candidate and it seems that news websites and channels had different reasons.

Later it turned out that he was arrested because “he had a contact with the Muslim Brotherhood”.

Updated "@2:01PM Thursday :
Abou El-Fotouh's lawyers say that they do not know the charges he is facing for real. They were also not allowed to attend his interrogation at the High State security prosecution.   

I think we all know that Abou El-Fotouh left the MB in 2011 after a big fight and till that day the Brotherhood members hate him even more than El-Sisi because they could not forget how he called early presidential elections during the end of Mohamed Morsi’s era.

Earlier this week, Abou El-Fotouh had an interview that was aired on Al-Jazeera Mubshar TV channel that was recorded in London.

He arrived on Friday and recorded on Sunday despite the warnings he got from others not to speak through the Qatari TV channel. You can watch it after the break.

During his stay in London, the former Presidential candidate also recorded an interview with London-based Al-Araby TV.
The interview was going to be aired on Saturday but the TV channel aired hours following his arrest.

He also recorded an interview with the BBC Wednesday morning before his arrest in the evening.

I have not seen the BBC interview which was on Thursday but I have seen Al Jazeera Mubshar Misr and Al-Araby TV and they reminded me of how Abdel Moneim Abu El-Fotouh became an A-class politician.

He repeated what he had said in both TV programs attacking El-Sisi only separating behind him and the Egyptian armed forces which he totally supported in its recent North Sinai operation.   He supported the peaceful political movement rejecting all talks of hunger revolution. He called the Muslim Brotherhood, Al-Azhar and the Orthodox Church to quit politics and to stick to their religious role.

Needless to say, he has been vocal and highly critical of Sisi’s regime and was among the early political figures calling for a boycott to the upcoming presidential elections in March.

He was among those who signed the first statement calling the National Elections Authority “NEA” for the cancellation of elections following the arrest of former Egyptian army Chief of staff Sami Anan.

It is worth to mention that Mohamed El-Kassas, Abou El-Fotouh’s deputy in Strong Egypt Party was arrested on Friday allegedly for joining banned group “aka Muslim Brotherhood” and working for that group’s media arm “Mekameeleen TV channel”.

El-Kassas, who is a former MB that defected in early 2011 denied all those charges.

For the record, Mohamed El-Kassas is among the best young politicians in Egypt since 2011.
Of course, I can ignore the arrest of Egypt’s former top auditor Hesham Geneina by the military from two days ago as well.

Back to Abu El-Fotouh who made it clear that he would spend the rest of days in a jail cell than to leave the country and live abroad.

The High state security prosecution will interrogate the veteran Islamist politician early morning.

Abdel Moneim Abou El-Fotouh was imprisoned twice. The first time was in the infamous autumn of fury when Sadat arrested all his opponents from left to right in September 1981.
The second time was during the era of Mubarak from 1996 to 2001.

Opposition political powers and parties as well figures began to react to the arrest the veteran politician. Former Presidential candidate.

Hamdeen Sabbahi was among the first who declared their support and even demanded the release of Abou El-Fotouh on Wednesday with his post on his personal verified Facebook account.

Former presidential candidate and rights lawyer Khaled Ali has become a member of Abou El-Fotouh's legal team along with Ahmed Abu Ela Mady, the son of Abu Ela Mady, the leader of Al-Wasat Party.

By making peaceful political change impossible, you are not giving youth too many options.
Frustrated angry youth who do not know how to represented peacefully through politics.
Either they will leave the country and immigrate as many of the young people I know in the past 7 years did or they will join militant radical groups.

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