Egypt rules football star Aboutrika will remain on ‘terror’ list until 2023
The Court of Cassation also ruled that 1,528 other individuals, many accused of being linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, will remain on the watchlist until 2023.
President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's government first placed Aboutrika, who used to play for the Cairo-based Al Ahly football club and Egypt’s national team, on the watchlist in 2017 for his alleged "supporting and funding [of] the Brotherhood group."
Aboutrika, 42, is widely considered to be one of the greatest Egyptian footballers in history, delivering repeated victories for Egypt in the African Cup of Nations, and for Al Ahly in the African Champions League.
The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed in 2013 after a military coup led by Sisi overthrew former President Mohammad Morsi, a member of the group who won Egypt's first democratic presidential elections in 2012.
Aboutrika publicly endorsed Morsi’s 2012 presidential bid but has denied funding the Muslim Brotherhood.
Aboutrika appealed the court's initial decision to place him on the "terror watchlist" in 2018. Thurday’s rejection of his appeal is final and cannot be appealed, the judicial source said.
The government froze Aboutrika's assets in 2015, two years after he retired from football.
According to a 2015 Egyptian anti-terror law in 2015, those on the list are subject to a travel ban, with their passport and assets liable to be frozen.
Aboutrika, however, has lived in exile in Qatar since 2017, where he is a commentator for the beIN sports channel.
Following Al Ahly’s qualification for the Club World Cup which took place in Qatar in February, Aboutrika said, “After four years of depriving me of visiting Al Ahly, fate brought the team to play... in Doha, and I will be close to them.”
However, the club said in a statement at the time that Aboutrika would not be able to visit the team due to “the circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic”.