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Armed Forces officer and presidential hopeful sentenced to 6 years in prison

A military court sentenced Armed Forces Colonel Ahmed Konsowa to six years in prison on Tuesday after he announced his intention to run in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections, his lawyer Asaad Heikal reported.

While the charges have not yet been announced and Heikal told Mada Masr he has not been officially notified as to what they are, Konsowa was sentenced on the basis that he declared his intention to run for president while still in the military.

Konsowa published a video statement online on November 29 announcing his intention to run. He was initially interrogated on December 2 and subsequently referred to military prosecution, before being tried before the North Cairo Military Court. Konsowa said in the video that he has been attempting to resign from his post in the Armed Forces since current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, then defense minister, announced his own intentions to run in the 2014 presidential elections.

According to a Facebook statement, which has since been deleted, Konsowa has brought 11 separate court cases regarding his ongoing attempts to resign from the military before the military judiciary, the State Council and the Supreme Constitutional Court, some of which are still ongoing. According to the statement, his resignation has been impeded by bureaucratic red tape.

The presidential hopeful’s wife, Rasha Safwat, told Mada Masr on December 3 that she has been unable to see him, but that his colleagues assured her he was being treated well.

Two other potential candidates have announced their intention to run in the 2018 presidential elections — lawyer Khaled Ali and former Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq.

After announcing his intention to run in late November, Shafiq was reportedly arrested on December 2 and deported from the United Arab Emirates, where he had been residing since 2012. After he arrived in Egypt, his family told media outlets that his whereabouts were unknown. The former minister resurfaced later that evening during a televised phone interview with talk show host Wael al-Ibrashy, saying he was reconsidering his decision to run.

Ali announced his intention to run for president on November 6, one day before the first session in an appeal he filed against a three-month prison sentence on charges of public indecency.

Sisi’s first term ends in June 2018, and he has not yet announced whether he intends to run for a second term.

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