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The New Arab

Presidential hopeful Shafiq 'detained' in Cairo after UAE deportation

Shafiq announced last week that he plans to compete for the post of president [Getty]

Date of publication: 2 December, 2017

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Former Egyptian premier and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq has been detained for questioning upon arrival to Egypt, after he was deported from the UAE.

Former Egyptian premier and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq has been detained for questioning upon arriving in Egypt from the United Arab Emirates, security sources have said.

Shafiq arrived at a military airport in Cairo on Saturday after he was allegedly arrested in his home in the UAE and deported back to Egypt, the sources told The New Arab.

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.

She said all lines of communication with him have been cut.

One his aides told AFP that she witnessed officials arriving at the house and was told that Shafiq, seen as a main challenger to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, would be taken to Egypt.

The UAE state news agency WAM reported that Shafiq had left the country en route to Egypt, while his family stayed behind.

Shafiq announced last week that he plans to compete for the post of president in his homeland at next year's election and was preparing to return to Cairo in the coming days.

Just hours after his announcement, however, Shafiq said the UAE had barred him from leaving the country.

The UAE has denied preventing Shafiq's departure from the country.

Shafiq's candidacy could see him stand against Sisi, who has yet to officially declare his candidacy but looks all but certain to run in and dominate the election next year.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Hassan Shoukry said on Friday that he saw "no reason" why the country's ex-premier should not run for president.

A former aviation minister and air force general, Shafiq was hastily appointed prime minister by Hosni Mubarak in 2011 before the longtime leader was ousted by a popular uprising.

Shafiq did not last long in the job after Mubarak's overthrow and in the presidential race held the following year finished close behind the winner, Morsi.

Shafiq, who left Egypt in 2012 for the UAE, was tried in absentia on corruption charges after his election defeat but was acquitted.

Prominent rights lawyer Khaled Ali has also voiced his intention to contest the upcoming 2018 elections.

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