Family says they have lost contact with Egypt’s former PM

Ahmed Shafik deported to Cairo after saying he would run for president, claim relatives

Egypt’s former prime minister Ahmed Shafik: “If he was deported he should have been able to go home by now, not just disappear. We consider him kidnapped,” says his daughter. Photograph Jumana el Heloueh

The family of former Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shafik said on Sunday they have lost contact with him since they say he was deported from the United Arab Emirates to Cairo just days after announcing his intention to run for president next year.

Mr Shafik, a former air force chief and government minister, has been seen by critics of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as a potential challenger to the former military commander who is widely expected to run for a second term next year.

Details about what happened to Mr Shafik are unclear. He made his surprise announcement on Wednesday about running in the 2018 election from UAE where he has been based with his family.

Shafik’s family said he was taken from their home on Saturday by UAE authorities and flown by private plane back to Cairo. A Reuters witness said Egyptian authorities escorted him in a convoy from the airport.


Considered kidnapped

“We know nothing about him since he left home yesterday,” Mr Shafik’s daughter, May, told Reuters. “If he was deported he should have been able to go home by now, not just disappear. We consider him kidnapped.”

The family and lawyer said they planned to file complaints with the prosecutor’s office around Mr Shafik’s whereabouts. UAE authorities confirmed he left the Emirates but gave no details.

A source at the interior ministry said: “We do not know anything about Shafik. We did not arrest him and we did not receive any requests from the prosecution to arrest him or bring him back.”

Mr Shafik's abrupt departure from UAE came weeks after Lebanese officials accused Saudi Arabia of meddling by forcing prime minister Saad al-Hariri to resign by holding him against his will.

Saudi Arabia denied those charges but the case prompted a crisis and pushed Lebanon back into the centre of a regional struggle between Riyadh with its Sunni Gulf allies and Iran. – Reuters