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Jailed Egyptian ex-army chief who tried to run against Sisi freed

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Cairo (AFP)

Egypt Sunday released from jail a former military chief of staff arrested in 2018 after he tried to challenge President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a presidential poll, a senior official said.

"General Sami Anan has been set free," the official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Anan was arrested in early 2018 after he announced he would run in a presidential election against Sisi, who was swept to victory in a March 2018 poll for a second term.

At the time, the army accused Anan of announcing his intention to run in the election "without getting the approval of the armed forces or following the required procedures to end his service in the military".

It also said Anan's announcement constituted "direct incitement against the armed forces with the intent of causing a rift between it and the great Egyptian people".

Following his arrest, a military court imposed a media blackout concerning Anan and the proceedings against him.

Sisi, himself an ex-army chief, won an overwhelming 97 percent of votes in a May 2014 poll and was re-elected president for another five-year term in March 2018, again with more than 97 percent of the vote.

Since Sisi took power, rights campaigners have regularly accused his government of abuses, including mass trials and torture as well as a clampdown on opposition and the media.

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