Egypt court renews detention of former presidency candidate

Egyptian court renews detention of ailing former presidential candidate
2 min read
15 October, 2021
A court in Egypt has renewed the detention of former presidential candidate Abdul Monem Aboul Fotouh, who has been held without trial since 2018 and suffers from serious health conditions.
Abdul Monem Aboul Fotouh has been in prison without trial for over three years [Getty]

A court in Egypt has renewed the detention of former presidential candidate Abdul Monem Aboul Fotouh for 45 days on charges of “broadcasting and spreading false news and information” as well as “misuse of a social media platform” and “aiding a terrorist organisation”.

Aboul Fotouh, 70, has been detained without trial since February 2018 and his health has deteriorated severely in prison.

He was arrested after giving an interview to the Al Jazeera television news channel in which he criticised the government of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Ahmed Aboul Ela Madi, a member of Aboul Fotouh’s legal team, said that lawyers had been permitted to visit the former presidential candidate in prison, adding, “his poor health was apparent – he is wearing a special collar for his health and a belt for his back because of a slipped disc.”

“We learned that he is being detained in isolation on an entire wing by himself,” Madi added.

In a Facebook post, Madi also said, “Aboul Fotouh informed us that he has not been permitted to go to the prison hospital or any other hospital even at his personal expense, to carry out medical examinations which are necessary due to the deterioration of his health.”

As well as his back problems, human rights groups have reported that Aboul Fotouh suffers from diabetes, hypertension, and chronic heart and prostate conditions.

His son has said that he suffered two heart attacks while being held in prison.

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Aboul Fotouh was a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood until 2011, when he quit the group to run as an independent in the Egyptian presidential elections, coming in fourth place with 17 percent of the vote in the first round.

He was seen as espousing a more liberal kind of Islamism than the Muslim Brotherhood’s official candidate, Mohammed Morsi, who went on to win the 2012 Egyptian presidential election.

Following his election defeat, Aboul Fotouh founded the Strong Egypt party.

Morsi was overthrown in a military coup led by current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in 2013. He died in an Egyptian courtroom in 2019 after suffering severe medical neglect in prison, and human rights groups have expressed strong fears that Aboul Fotouh will suffer the same fate.