Presidential hopeful Shafiq 'detained' in Cairo after UAE deportation

Presidential hopeful Shafiq 'detained' in Cairo after UAE deportation

Former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafik's lawyer says she has met with him at a hotel in Cairo, her first contact with him since his arrival in Cairo.

Shafik, who has lived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 2012 after losing the Egyptian elections to Mohamed Morsi, was arrested by Emirati authorities on Saturday and later deported, according to Adly.

Adly did not say whether Shafik was free to leave the hotel, which she did not identify by name.

Shafiq arrived at a military airport in Cairo on Saturday after he was allegedly arrested in his home in the UAE and deported back to Egypt, the sources told The New Arab.

Ahmed Shafik, a former air force commander and government minister, was seen as the strongest potential opponent of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who is expected to run for a second term next year.

However, Shafiq's family is still in the UAE, said an unnamed official source cited in the ENA report.

Shafiq's family said earlier Sunday it has lost contact with him since they say he was deported from the United Arab Emirates to Cairo days after announcing his intention to run for president next year.

"I was surprised to know that I am prevented from leaving the UAE, for reasons that I don't understand and I am not willing to understand", he said in his statement.

Shafik's daughter May Shafik, told Reuters that authorities had come for him at his home and sent him to Cairo.

She said all lines of communication with him have been cut.

A spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry did not immediately answer a call seeking details.

Saudi Arabia denied those charges but the case prompted a political crisis in Lebanon and pushed the country back into centre stage of a regional power struggle between Riyadh with its Sunni Gulf allies and Iran.

In 2012 Shafiq only just lost out to Islamist Mohammed Morsi for the presidency, despite widespread antipathy for Mubarak-era officials.

Several other low-profile candidates have said they would run as well.

Shafiq, a former government minister and air force commander, announced last week he plans to run for president in 2018.

Two private lawyers filed legal complaints against Shafiq with the public prosecutor in Egypt because an announcement linked to his election bid had been broadcast on Qatari-based Al Jazeera. But an Egyptian judicial source said Shafik was not wanted in any criminal cases at the moment, but he had several cases, including for corruption, against him in the past that either ended in acquittal or were dropped.

Egypt's presidential elections are due to be held around March or April next year.

But his government is fighting a stubborn Islamist militant insurgency in the Sinai region and has also enacted painful austerity reforms over the previous year to revive the economy but that critics say have dented his popularity.