Egypt presidential hopeful returns home, whereabouts unclear

Three days after announcing his intention to run in the next presidential elections in Egypt, former Prime Minister Ahmed Sahfik returned to Cairo from Abu Dhabi on Saturday on board a private jet.

The reports about Shafik's arrival in Cairo came after his lawyer, Dina Adly, said on Facebook that her client had been arrested at his home in the UAE and would be deported to Egypt.

"He confirmed that his health was good and that he was not subjected to any investigations", she added, without mentioning the name of hotel where she met Shafik.

An official source later confirmed her statement.

She explained that these "officials" informed him that he must leave the UAE without his daughters while they told his daughters that they are welcome to stay in the UAE. UAE officials informed him that a private airplane will transport him to France, but he preferred to book a flight leaving to France on Saturday at dawn.

Sisi as a military commander led the ousting of former president Mursi in 2013, before his own landslide election a year later.

He ran in Egypt's first free elections in 2012 and lost to Islamist Mohammed Morsi before fleeing the country.

On Friday, Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said he sees no legal restrictions that could prevent Shafik from running in next year's elections against current President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi.

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Shafiq, a former government minister and air force commander, announced last week he plans to run for president in 2018. They provided no evidence.

It is the chief prosecutor's prerogative to investigate the complaint and, depending on his decision, refer Shafiq to trial.

Egypt has long accused the broadcaster of being a mouthpiece of the Brotherhood, which it denies.

"We have no information about a deportation order", the judicial source said.

Charges were laid down against him, but he was acquitted of some, while the others were dropped.

His supporters dismiss criticism over rights abuses and say any measures are needed for security in the face of an extremist insurgency that has killed hundreds of police and soldiers in the last four years.

But his government is fighting a stubborn Islamist militant insurgency in the Sinai region and has also enacted painful austerity reforms over the previous year to revive the economy but that critics say have dented his popularity.


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