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Egypt authorities 'committing mass suicide' warns Nobel Laureate amid growing election crackdown

ElBaradei's comments came a day after Egypt's prosecutor remanded a leading government critic [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 February, 2018

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An Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has warned authorities are 'committing mass suicide' in its crackdown on dissent ahead of next month's presidential election.

An Egyptian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has warned authorities are "committing mass suicide" with a crackdown on dissent ahead of next month's presidential election.

Mohamed ElBaradei, an opposition figure and former vice president, made the comments on Friday on his official Twitter account, following the latest arrest of a government critic.

"Oppression never was or ever will be a solution... nations are built on freedom not oppression, on knowledge not ignorance, on transparency not deceitfulness," ElBaradei said.

"Justice, societal consensus and non-violence are our only way forward other than that we are committing mass suicide," he added.

"Could a poisonous atmosphere fraught with polarisation and demonising the other… be the beginning of everyone communicating with each other to renounce violence and set up a nation founded on justice, freedom and tolerance?" ElBaradei asked.

ElBaradei served as Egypt's vice president for a short period between July and August 2013.

He resigned from the post after Egypt's military government forcibly removed pro-democracy protesters from two Cairo squares. Over a thousand of them were killed in the aftermath of the overthrow of the country's first freely elected president, Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.

ElBaradei's comments came a day after Egypt's prosecutor remanded a leading government critic Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh in custody for 15 days over alleged links to exiled members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

His arrest on Wednesday came after he joined a call for a boycott of a presidential election next month that the incumbent, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is expected to win easily after any serious rivals have been arrested or sidelined.

The move was the latest a series of high-profile, election-related detentions that have rocked the country ahead of the vote.

Former military chief of staff Sami Anan was arrested last month, just days after he declared his intention to run for president.

Earlier this week, the country's former anti-graft chief was arrested after he told a television interviewer that Annan was in possession of documents secured abroad that are incriminating of the country's leadership.

An army colonel who released a video in which he declared his intention to run for president is serving a six-year prison sentence following his conviction of violating the military's ban on political activism.

Besides Anan, a string of would-be candidates - including a former prime minister and a rights lawyer - have quit the race amid charges of coercion by authorities or fears over the safety of their supporters.

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