Egyptian opposition leader detained


Egypt’s state security prosecutors ordered prominent opposition leader, Hazim Abdelazim, detained for 15 days pending investigation over joining an illegal organisation and publishing false news, a judicial source said.

Egypt has in recent weeks arrested several prominent activists in a crackdown on critics following small protests against hikes in metro fares.

Abdelazim was arrested at his home in Cairo late on Saturday, a security source said.

Once a deputy telecoms minister under ousted President Hosni Mubarak, Abdelazim was later heavily involved with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s 2014 election campaign where he chaired the youth committee.

Abdelazim later described the experience on his Twitter profile as his “biggest sin.”

The interior ministry could not immediately be reached for comment.

Last week, Egyptian authorities arrested award-winning blogger and journalist Wael Abbas, accusing him of involvement with an illegal organisation and publishing false news.

Abbas’s arrest followed those of three other prominent opposition figures.

Rights groups say Egypt’s human and civil rights record has deteriorated under Sisi, but supporters say his tough security policy is needed to ensure stability as Egypt recovers from years of political chaos and tackles economic challenges and an Islamist insurgency.

Sisi won a second term in office in a March election with only one other candidate, himself a Sisi supporter, after all serious opposition contenders halted their campaigns citing intimidation and several arrests.