A former presidential candidate in Egypt has been rearrested by public prosecutors, local media have confirmed. Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh has been in pre-trial detention since 2018. He was due to be released on 18 February following the expiry of the term by which he could legally be held, but this too was "extended".
Aboul Fotouh has been charged with a number of offences, including "leading and reviving a banned group" — not identified by the prosecution — and "spreading false news". The case has been criticised by human rights groups for relying solely on "national security investigations" rather than evidence, and for being a "recycled" version of an old case.
Recycling cases is a term used by Egyptian rights groups to describe the practice of bringing new charges against someone who has served or is still serving a previous sentence. The new cases are in effect renewed versions of the old ones.
According to Egyptian law, the period of pre-trial detention in criminal cases should not exceed two years. In many cases, however, this law is violated by the authorities, prompting widespread criticism by human rights organisations.