Egypt adds former soccer star to terror blacklist

Egyptian court adds former soccer star Mohamed Aboutrika to the terror list based on suspicions he financed the Muslim Brotherhood.

Ben Ariel ,

Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration)

An Egyptian court has added former soccer star Mohamed Aboutrika to the authorities’ terror list based on suspicions he financed the banned Muslim Brotherhood, AFP reported on Wednesday.

In 2015 a government committee froze the assets of the former player for Cairo-based club Al-Ahly and Egypt’s national team, two years after he retired, according to the news agency.

The government accuses him of financing the Muslim Brotherhood, which was blacklisted as a terrorist organization at the end of 2013, soon after former Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi was ousted.

According to an anti-terror law imposed in 2015 by current President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, anyone on the country’s terror list is subject to a travel ban, with their passport and assets liable to be frozen.

Aboutrika, one of the most successful soccer players of his generation, had publicly endorsed Morsi’s presidential bid in 2012.

Morsi went on to become Egypt’s first democratically elected president, only for the army to oust him one year later and ban the Brotherhood.

The ban on the group accompanied a campaign by security forces to crush the Islamist movement in which hundreds of its members have been killed and thousands arrested.

Egypt has also frozen the assets of senior leaders of the movement and has arrested dozens of its members since Morsi’s ouster, including most of its leadership.

Aboutrika’s lawyer Mohamed Osman said that the court’s decision regarding Aboutrika was “contrary to the law”, and added the retired player “has not been convicted or formally notified of any of the charges against him.”

“We will appeal this decision,” he said, according to AFP, and added that “if he is added to the list there will be many legal consequences, notably the travel ban.”

In an interview with the Al-Ahram newspaper in May 2015, Aboutrika denied that his company, or any of his partners, had ever funded the movement.