Former Egyptian PM Ahmed Shafiq left Emirates to Cairo


Former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq has returned to his home country after five years of self-exile in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) following his announcement that he plans to run for president next year.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is widely expected to run for a second term but has yet to announce it.

They say former government minister and air forces commander Ahmed Shafiq landed in Cairo on Saturday amid tightened security.

Then, on Saturday, Shafik's lawyer said that she had not been able to speak to her client since Friday and that he had been arrested at his home in the UAE and would be deported to Egypt. "He confirmed that his health was good and that he was not subjected to any investigations", she wrote.

"I had a meeting with Shafik an hour ago at one of the hotels in New Cairo and confirmed his health", Dina Adly wrote on Facebook on Sunday evening. It said his family had remained behind in the Emirates.

She explained that these "officials" informed him that he must leave the UAE without his daughters while they told his daughters that they are welcome to stay in the UAE. They came and took him.

According to information by sources at Cairo's International Airport, when Shafiq's plane landed almost 50 family members and his loyalists met him at the airport. There has been at least one complaint against him lodged with the chief prosecutor, accusing him of inciting against the government and sowing divisions between Egypt and the UAE, Cairo's close ally and economic backer.

Shafiq - the last prime minister of Egypt's Mubarak era - announced late last month that he was planning to run in the presidential elections scheduled in 2018.

A Gulf source familiar with the matter had told Reuters: "Shafik has publicly asked to go to Egypt and his wish will be met".

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A spokesman for Egypt's foreign ministry did not immediately answer a call seeking details.

Charges were laid down against him, but he was acquitted of some, while the others were dropped.

"We have no information about a deportation order", the judicial source said.

Sisi has yet to announce his own intentions for the election.

Sisi has won backing from Gulf states and has presented himself as a bulwark against Islamist militants since, as army commander, he led the overthrow in 2013 of former president Mohamed Mursi of the now banned Muslim Brotherhood.

May Shafik said on Friday he was preparing to depart, first for Europe and the United States before returning to Egypt to start his campaign.

"I was surprised to know that I am prevented from leaving the UAE, for reasons that I don't understand and I am not willing to understand", he said in his statement. She did not specify who gave the assurances. The UAE denied this and accused him of ingratitude after it had given him a home since 2012.

Details about what happened to Shafik between his leaving the UAE on Saturday and his declaration on Sunday were unclear. But critics say he has jailed hundreds of dissidents and eroded freedoms gained after the 2011 uprising that ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak.

Supporters see Sisi, who is allied with UAE and Saudi Arabia, as key for Egypt's stability.