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Presidential hopeful Shafiq 'detained' in Cairo after UAE deportation

Presidential hopeful Shafiq 'detained' in Cairo after UAE deportation

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

Shafiq's abrupt departure from UAE came weeks after Lebanese officials accused Saudi Arabia of meddling in its affairs by forcing Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri to resign by holding him against his will.

Former Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik left the VIP lounge of the Cairo International Airport, according to sources.

There was no official word on Shafiq's whereabouts by Sunday evening, prompting speculation on whether he has been detained by security or intelligence agencies or was being kept at a suburban Cairo hotel.

The family and lawyer said they planned to file complaints with the prosecutor's office around Shafiq's whereabouts.

Shafik's daughter May Shafik, told Reuters that authorities had come for him at his home and sent him to Cairo.

On Wednesday, Shafik said in an exclusive video message to Al Jazeera that he had been blocked from leaving the UAE, hours after announcing plans to run in Egypt's 2018 presidential elections.

Shafiq's family said he was taken from their home on Saturday and flown by private plane back to Cairo.

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

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Adly also said in her post that all lines of communication with Shafik had been shut down since Friday. Egypt's foreign ministry said it was not responsible for the case.

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

Shafik narrowly lost to Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's 2012 election before fleeing overseas.

Sisi has yet to announce his own intentions for the election, saying he would follow the will of the people after presenting his achievements in the next two months.

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.

Former Egyptian premier Ahmed Shafik said on Sunday he was still considering his presidential bid and exploring the idea further now that he is in Egypt, according to a televised interview on Sunday in which he denied authorities had kidnapped him. She did not specify who gave the assurances. The incumbent, general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is virtually certain to run, but has yet to make an official announcement.

Mr Morsi himself was ousted by the military in July 2013 following mass anti-government protests, with Mr Sisi elected president a year later.

But his government is struggling to crush the insurgency in the North Sinai region and has also enacted painful austerity reforms over the previous year to revive the economy which critics say have eroded his popularity.

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