Egypt Extends Pretrial Detention of Opposition Figure with Heart Condition

An Egyptian court has extended the pretrial detention of prominent opposition member and former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh for another 45 days on charges of communicating with entities opposed to the Egyptian state and disseminating false news.

In June last year, Aboul Fotouh’s son Ahmed said on Twitter that his father’s health had deteriorated and his life is under threat.

Ahmed noted that his father suffered from angina while in prison “and if it hadn’t been for the fact that he is [originally] a doctor and can try to rescue himself, the outcome would have been different.”

Aboul Fotouh has been held in a prison in Cairo since mid-February 2018 pending investigation into the charges of “disseminating false news” and “leading and attempting to revive an outlawed group”, in a clear reference to the Muslim Brotherhood group, which the Egyptian regime banned and designated as a terrorist organization in 2013 following a military coup

A former leading member of the group, Aboul Fotouh broke with it and became an independent opponent in 2012 when he decided to run in the presidential elections independently from the Brotherhood.

During the same election, the Brotherhood nominated and backed Mohamed Morsi. Morsi became the country’s first democratically elected, civilian president before he was ousted in the 2013 coup then died in custody amid accusation of insufficient medical care in prison.

Aboul Fotouh’s arrest in 2018 came one day after his return from a trip to London, during which he was interviewed by the Qatari satellite channel Al Jazeera. In the interview, he criticized current Egypt’s Al-Sisi, who was Morsi’s defense minister and who led the coup against him.

He has previously been detained more than once under the government of long-time Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak.