Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered the arrest of former Islamist Presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh for contacts with the banned Muslim Brotherhood group, state television reported on Wednesday. One of the most prominent and vocal opposition figures who has called for a boycott of the presidential elections next month, Abol Fotouh was one of the top presidential candidates in the country’s first elections after the 2011 uprising, taking about 18 percent of the first round vote.
Egypt banned the Brotherhood in 2013 after the army led by general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted President Mohamed Mursi, a senior member of the Brotherhood in Egypt. Abol Fotouh quit the Muslim Brotherhood in 2011 to mount an independent bid for the presidency and has distanced himself from the Islamist movement since then. Abol Fotouh’s deputy in the Strong Egypt Party, Mohamed al-Qassas, was detained last week and is being held pending an investigation, according to the party’s Facebook page. The party condemned the arrest and criticised what it called “the systematic targeting of the opposition politicians” in a post earlier this week.