Authorities in Egypt have arrested retired general Sami Anan, according to his campaign coordinator. Anan announced his presidential bid on Saturday, just hours after incumbent President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi said he would seek a second term in the March 2018 election.
Egypt’s Supreme Council of Armed Forces accused Anan of falsifying documents stating that his military service had terminated and therefore violating the country’s military law by running for election without the army’s approval.
"The Armed Forces do not condone the blatant breach of the rules and regulations of military service that the accused has committed, such as committing the crime of forgery represented in the termination of his service in the armed forces, which led to his inclusion in the electoral roster," the council’s statement said.
Anan’s aid took to social media to voice his protest against the arrest, calling it “terrorism”.
Lieutenant General Sami Anan was the Chief of Staff of Egypt’s Armed Forces from 2005 until August 2012; he kept his seat after the 2011 revolution, but was fired by former President Mohamed Morsi.
Anan was seen as the last major challenger of President Sisi, an ex-military chief himself. He blamed the country’s problems on Sisi’s “wrong policies”.
Anan is not the first former high-ranking official to be prevented from running against Sisi; former prime minister and air force general Ahmed Shafiq withdrew from the race several weeks ago saying he’s the wrong person for the job after facing harsh criticism. The presidential vote will be held on March 26-28 and candidates must register between January 20-29.
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