Egypt freezes assets of leading government critic

Egypt freezes the assets of leading government critic Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, who is accused of having links to Muslim Brotherhood.

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Elad Benari,

Muslim Brotherhood members stand trial
Muslim Brotherhood members stand trial

Egypt has frozen the assets of leading government critic Abdel Moneim Abul Fotouh, arrested earlier this month over alleged links to exiled members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, the prosecution said Sunday, according to AFP.

Abul Fotouh was arrested on February 14, shortly after he joined a call for a boycott of a presidential election next month that the incumbent, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, is expected to win easily.

He was detained shortly after arriving from London, where he gave interviews in which he was critical of the Egyptian government was remanded in custody for 15 days and placed on the Egyptian blacklist of "terrorists", AFP reported.

On Sunday, the public prosecutor's office said it had decided to "sequester the assets of the Muslim Brotherhood leader (Abul Fotouh) and other people who have been placed on terrorist lists".

It said an ongoing judicial probe had shown Abul Fotouh's funds were being "used to carry out terrorist activities".

The interior ministry said following his arrest that Abul Fotouh, a former leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood and candidate in the 2012 presidential election, had contacts with the group's members in exile "to sow trouble and instability".

Egyptian authorities have launched a crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters since the ouster in 2013 of former President Mohammed Morsi.

As part of the crackdown, thousands of Brotherhood supporters have been jailed and the group was blacklisted as a terrorist organization.

Last May, an Egyptian court sentenced the Muslim Brotherhood's supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, to life in prison for "planning violent attacks".

Badie was part of a group of 37 people accused of conspiring to stir unrest during protests that followed the July 2013 military-led ouster of Morsi.

Egyptians will head to the polls on March 26-28 in the first round of the presidential election, and a second round will be held on April 24-26 if necessary.

Sisi’s re-election is virtually assured since most of the candidates who planned to challenge him dropped out of the race.