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The New Arab

UAE 'arrests, deports' Egypt presidential hopeful Shafiq to Cairo

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 arrested by authorities in the United Arab Emirates and deported to Egypt, according to his lawyer.

Former Egyptian premier and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq has been arrested by authorities in the United Arab Emirates and deported to Egypt, according to his lawyer.

Dina Adly said on Saturday in an online statement that Shafiq was arrested at his home and was put on a private plane to Cairo.

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.

Egyptian security sources told The New Arab that Shafiq landed at a military airport in Cairo and has been detained for questioning.​

Shafiq announced last week that he plans to compete for the post of president in his homeland in 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 or that he was under arrest.

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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