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Egypt’s Sisi cancels South Africa visit amid calls for his arrest

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi on Thursday cancelled a trip to South Africa to attend the African Union Summit after a group of lawyers filed an official legal request for his arrest.

The Egyptian president was supposed to arrive Friday in Johannesburg to lead his country’s delegation in the African summit titled “Enabling African Women,” which will take place on June 14 and 15.

“We believe Al-Sisi committed war crimes and crimes against humanity for the horrendous killings that resulted from the (2013) coup in Egypt,” attorney Yousha Tayoub, a member of the South African Muslim Lawyers Association, told Anadolu Agency on Wednesday.

A well-informed African diplomatic source told Anadolu Agency that Al-Sisi would not participate. The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that Egypt had officially informed the host country that Al-Sisi would not participate in the summit, and that PM Ibrahim Mehleb will lead the Egyptian delegation instead.

A former military commander, Al-Sisi is widely seen as the architect of the 2013 coup against President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood leader.

At the time, the South African government had vocally criticized Morsi’s ouster and the subsequent crackdown on political dissent waged by Egypt’s army-backed government.

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