Lawyer demands to see Egypt president hopeful after 'deportation'

Cairo (AFP) –


A lawyer for former Egyptian premier and presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafiq on Sunday demanded access to him after he was reportedly deported from the United Arab Emirates to his homeland.

Shafiq has not been seen since an airport official said he landed back in Cairo on Saturday evening after aides claimed the Emirati authorities loaded him onto a private jet.

The former army general was forced to leave the Gulf country, where he had been living in exile since 2012, after he announced his candidacy for presidential elections next year, lawyer Dina Adly said in a statement on her Facebook page.

"So far the general has not called me and I was not summoned to meet him," said Adly.

She cited "media reports" that Shafiq has arrived in Egypt "and is residing in a hotel in Cairo."

Adly appealed to the authorities "to allow me to meet him to check on him and to verify whether or not he has actually arrived in Egypt."

A relative of Shafiq's told AFP that "we have no information about him".

Shafiq, who narrowly lost out on the presidency in 2012, had earlier angered his Emirati hosts by claiming he was being prevented from leaving the country after announcing his intention to challenge strongman leader Abdel Fattah al-Sisi at the polls.

An aide said he was taken by officials from his home in the UAE, put on a private plane and told he would "go back to Cairo, because they can deport him only to his home country."

UAE state news agency WAM reported that Shafiq left the country for Egypt, while his family stayed behind, but did not mention that he had been deported.

Lawyer Adly wrote that Shafiq wanted to leave the UAE for France, but was later told he would be taken to Egypt instead.

Shafiq, appointed premier by Hosni Mubarak shortly before his overthrow in 2011, is seen as a main challenger for Sisi, who is expected to dominate the 2018 vote despite not yet officially announcing his candidacy.

In 2012 Shafiq only just lost out to Islamist Mohammed Morsi for the presidency, despite widespread antipathy for Mubarak-era officials.

After the polls he was tried in absentia on corruption charges, but eventually acquitted.

Sisi, a former army chief, was elected president in 2014, a year after leading the military's ouster of Morsi from power.