The highest court in Egypt’s common court system has acquitted retired soccer star Mohamed Aboutrika from charges that included funding a terrorist organisation, and ordered the removal of his name from the state’s terror list, according to Egyptian news outlets and social media users.
The news is yet to be confirmed by the Court of Cassation. Aboutrika had written on his official Facebook page on Friday, “Every difficult thing is easy if you seek God’s help,” but he did refer to his court case or mention it in the post.
Aboutrika, the former forward player of Al Ahly and the Egyptian National Team, was charged with supporting the Muslim Brotherhood group, which was banned and labelled a terrorist organisation following a military coup toppled Mohamed Morsi from the presidency in 2013.
Since the coup, the state has launched an unprecedented crackdown on dissidents. Thousands were tried or subjected to enforced disappearance or extrajudicial detention under the pretext of being members or supporters of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood. Most recently, authorities arrested Coptic rights activist Ramy Kamel and briefly detained a group of journalists from Mada Masr, one of the few independent media outlets that continued to operate after the coup.
The Brotherhood has repeatedly denied any ties to terror.