Shafiq asks authorities to disclose reasons behind arrests of 3 supporters

Mubarak-era prime minister and potential presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq has asked Egyptian authorities to clarify the reasons behind the arrests of three people associated with his previous presidential campaign in a statement issued on Saturday.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that security forces arrested three supporters of the presidential hopeful. Khaled al-Awamy, the spokesperson for Shafiq’s National Movement Party, told Mada Masr that none of them were party members.

In his statement, Shafiq apologized to the three men, who he posed had been detained “merely due to their personal relationship with me, support for me or participation in and support of my 2012 presidential campaign.” The former minister alluded to the lack of clarity around the accusations, adding “if indeed, these are the reasons for their arrest.”

According to Awamy, Shafiq’s statement is not a confirmation that the three arrestees, Hany Fouad, Mohamed Imam and Ahmed al-Dahshoury, were brought into custody for reasons relating to his campaign. He said there are suspicions that their arrests are unrelated to their support for the potential candidate. Reuters cited two anonymous security sources as saying the men have been charged with spreading false information.

Awamy, who attended a meeting with Shafiq and prominent members of the National Movement Party on Thursday, added that the former minister has not made a final decision yet regarding his candidacy in the 2018 presidential elections.

Shafiq aired a video announcing his intention to run for president on November 29, from the United Arab Emirates, where he had been residing since he lost to former President Mohamed Morsi in the 2012 elections.  He was subsequently said to have been arrested and deported, and his family told media outlets that he was missing on December 4. He reappeared in a televised phone interview with TV host Wael al-Ibrashy later that day, saying that he is reconsidering his decision to run.

Since his return to Egypt Shafiq has been staying in a hotel in New Cairo with a heavy security presence.

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