Egyptian prosecutors yesterday ordered the detention of an opposition leader who had hoped to run against President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the 2018 presidential elections following a complaint that he made a “finger gesture” outside a Cairo courtroom in January, his lawyers confirmed.
Human rights lawyer Khaled Ali previously attempted to run in the 2012 elections but was unsuccessful and ruled out running in the 2014 elections where Al-Sisi won in an apparent landslide. He confirmed to the Associated Press in February that he was considering running for next year’s elections.
Ali’s lawyer, Negad Borai, told AP that he was summoned by prosecutors following the complaint but refused to answer questions until he could review the evidence against him. Ali will be detained until today when he would be shown the evidence.
The incident is said to have taken place in January outside a Cairo courtroom as Ali, carried on the shoulders of supporters, celebrated his victory in a case against Al-Sisi’s government. The court had repealed the regime’s decision to hand over two islands to Saudi Arabia.
It was not clear why Ali was summoned for questioning over an incident four months later, but it follows the arrest of a number of young supporters of his party, Bread and Freedom, which is still awaiting official registration.