Shafiq breaks Twitter silence, appeals to Egypt authorities
A former Egyptian premier and presidential hopeful has urged authorities to disclose the reasons behind the detention of several of his supporters.
Ahmed Shafiq made the appeal on Twitter on Saturday, in his first online statement since he was reportedly deported to Egypt, after he announced he was reconsidering running in the 2018 presidential elections against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.
"I sincerely apologise to all the young people who have been arrested just because of their personal relations with me, for supporting me or taking part in my 2012 presidential election campaign," Shafiq said.
"I urge authorities to quickly clarify this issue. The situation is serious and deserves more disclosure on whether these are the reasons for their arrests or not," he added.
Reuters reported that police arrested three members of Shafiq's Egyptian National Movement on Wednesday and charged them with "spreading false information harmful to national security".
Last week, Shafiq said he was reconsidering his intention to run in the 2018 presidential elections.
Before the statement, Shafiq had not been seen since he landed in Cairo after aides claimed the Emirati authorities deported him.
Shafiq has reportedly been held in a Cairo hotel since his return.
The former army general was forced to leave the Gulf country, where he had been living in exile since 2012, after he announced his intention to run in next year's election.
Shafiq, appointed premier by Hosni Mubarak shortly before his overthrow in 2011, is seen as a main challenger for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is expected to dominate the 2018 vote despite not yet officially announcing his candidacy.
Shafiq had announced his intention to run in the elections in a video, in which he stated the country may need "new blood" to face its current "many problems in all aspects of life".
Shafiq narrowly lost out on the presidency in 2012 to now deposed President Mohammed Morsi.
After the polls he was tried in absentia on corruption charges, but eventually acquitted.
Sisi, a former army chief, was elected president in 2014, a year after leading the military's ouster of Morsi from power.