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Egypt lawyer presses charges against Shafiq over 'inflammatory' presidential bid

Shafiq announced his intention to run in the 2018 presidential elections [Al Jazeera]

Date of publication: 18 December, 2017

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An Egyptian lawyer has pressed charges against former premier and presidential hopeful who is reportedly under house arrest

An Egyptian lawyer has pressed charges against a former premier and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq for "inciting public opinion through a hostile channel", local media has reported.

Mohammed Hamid Salem filed the complaint against Ahmed Shafiq on Monday, local daily al-Dostor  reported.

"The plaintiff was shocked that Shafiq announced his candidacy for the presidency - which is his constitutional right - on the hostile Al Jazeera channel," the complaint reads.

"As a former military man, he knows the danger of issuing statements through hostile channels and has deliberately abandoned his military and political reasoning.

"In the statement, he used inflammatory language against the current political leadership during critical stage the country is going through," it added.

In a video aired on Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera last month, Shafiq announced his intention to run in the elections and said the country needed "new blood".

The Doha-based network has been banned in Egypt, since Cairo joined a Saudi-led blockade on Qatar.

A judicial source told The New Arab that the charges against Shafiq were "politically motivated".

"These charges are not related to any legal violations," the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said.

On Saturday, Shafiq urged authorities to disclose the reasons behind the detention of several of his supporters after police arrested three members of his Egyptian National Movement.

Sources told The New Arab this week that Shafiq has been held in Cairo's JW Marriott hotel by military police since he was reportedly deported by UAE authorities.

The former army general was forced to leave the Gulf country - where he had been living in exile since 2012 - after he announced his intention to run in next year's election.

Shafiq has since said he needs to "further study" his plans before he makes a final decision on whether he will run.

Shafiq, appointed premier by Hosni Mubarak shortly before his overthrow in 2011, is seen as a main challenger for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is expected to dominate the 2018 vote despite not yet officially announcing his candidacy.

Shafiq narrowly lost out on the presidency in 2012 to now-deposed President Mohamed Morsi.

After the polls he was tried in absentia on corruption charges, but eventually acquitted.

Sisi, a former army chief, was elected president in 2014, a year after leading the military's ouster of Morsi from power.

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