The Latest Chapter in the Upheaval that Has Gripped Egypt Ahead the Elections: Former Anti-Corruption Chief Was Arrested

Egyptian police on Tuesday took former anti-corruption chief Hisham Genena, who had been helping run the election campaign of a challenger to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, to the military prosecutor’s office, his family said.

Genena had run the short-lived election campaign of former military chief of staff Sami Anan, who was detained last month and accused by the army of running for office without permission, bringing his presidential bid to a halt.

Egypt holds the election at the end of March.

On Monday, the military said in a statement that it would pursue all “legal measures” against anyone who tried to harm Egypt’s national security.

The statement appeared to refer to an interview Genena gave to the HuffPost Arabi news website, in which he said Anan possessed documents that were damning of senior Egyptian officials, without giving specific details.

It was not immediately clear if Tuesday’s incident was linked to the military statement, however.

Genena’s daughter Nada Genena said that up to 30 policemen came to the family home in a Cairo suburb early in the day and took him away by car, reported Reuters.

His wife Wafaa Kedieh, who followed the police convoy, said he was taken to the military prosecution.

An interior ministry official said he had no knowledge of the incident.

In the same context,  the lawyer for Egypt’s former top anti-graft official says authorities have arrested his client. The lawyer, Ali Taha, says Hesham Genena was arrested on Tuesday at his home in a Cairo suburb.

Last month, Genena was beaten up shortly after the detention of Anan and accused the government of being behind his assault. His alleged assailants said his injuries were the result of a fight after a car accident.

All of Egypt’s main challengers to al-Sisi, who is seeking a second term in the March 26-28 vote, have pulled out of the race citing intimidation of their supporters and other tactics designed to give the incumbent an easy win.

Egypt says the 2018 presidential election will be free and fair.

However, more than a dozen human rights groups said on Tuesday, Egyptian presidential elections expected to be dominated by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi next month will be “neither free nor fair.”

“The Egyptian government has trampled over even the minimum requirements for free and fair elections,” the 14 international and Egyptian organisations said in a joint statement released by Human Rights Watch.

“The government of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has relentlessly stifled basic freedoms and arrested potential candidates and rounded up their supporters,” according to the groups, which also include the World Organisation Against Torture and the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies.