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Candidates Challenging Egyptian President el-Sisi Face Attacks, Intimidation

HeadlineOct 05, 2023

In Egypt, opponents of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi say they’ve faced violence and other obstacles preventing them from registering their candidates for December’s election. Under Egyptian law, candidates have until October 14 to secure at least 25,000 signatures from supporters. But dozens have been arrested attempting to submit signatures, while others have faced attacks by well-organized mobs of pro-government activists. This is Rania el-Sheik, who says her delegation was attacked by “thugs” as they attempted to register signatures.

Rania el-Sheik: “When we felt that the fight was brewing, we tried to move aside. Well, we tried. I was pulled by my hair, and they started beating my colleague on his shoulder.”

Ahmed Tantawi, an outspoken critic of President el-Sisi and the most prominent figure hoping to run against him, temporarily suspended his campaign last week after dozens of his supporters were arrested by police. Meanwhile, researchers at Citizen Lab and Google’s Threat Analysis Group found Tantawi’s personal smartphone was infected with Predator spyware — and that Egyptian authorities were likely behind the hacking attempts. Mohamed Anwar al-Sadat, the head of Egypt’s Reform and Development Party and nephew of the former Egyptian president, called on Sisi’s government to reverse course to provide free and fair elections.

Mohamed Anwar Esmat Sadat: “If the election is not held in the way that the entire world expects it to be, I say that this will lead to really bad results for the reputation and credibility of this regime, and even for its future.”

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