Opposition figures, ex-diplomat detained in Egypt


Egypt’s public prosecutor ordered the detention for 15 days pending investigation of a former diplomat and other opposition figures who criticised President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, state-run MENA news agency reported.

Masoum Marzouk, a former ambassador and two prominent opposition activists were arrested last Thursday. Marzouk recently called for a referendum on Sisi’s rule, in rare public criticism of the former general.

Marzouk, academic Yahya Kazaz, Raed Salama and four other people, who MENA did not name, face charges of joining a terrorist group and receiving funds for terrorism, it said.

Egyptian authorities jailed thousands of Sisi opponents and critics in recent years, including alleged Islamist militants and secular rights activists. Government said its actions are directed at terrorists and saboteurs trying to undermine the state.

The former general became president in 2014, a year after he led the ousting of Islamist president Mohamed Mursi after popular protests against his rule. Mursi was Egypt’s first freely elected head of state.

The standard fifteen-day detention can be renewed by authorities. Rights groups said this often happens indefinitely without trial to people accused of terrorism-related charges.