CAIRO: Member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s (MB) Guidance Office and Secretary General of the Arab Doctors’ Union Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh was released by State Security Tuesday after almost five months of incarceration.
Long seen as a temperate force within the group, Aboul Fotouh was detained June 28 and according to a group statement, had his detention extended nine times by State Security while the Cairo Criminal Court refused two consecutive appeals on his incarceration.
General Secretary of the Brotherhood Mahmoud Ezzat welcomed Aboul Fotouh’s release but told Daily News Egypt that it didn’t mean the regime was easing up on the group.
“They will continue their illegal crackdown and oppression. There was no case against Dr Aboul-Fotouh, his arrest was a media campaign and it served its purpose, he said.
Aboul Fotouh had been in bad health during his stay in Tora Prison because he suffers from Apnea and needs a respiratory tank when sleeping. He was transferred to Qasr Al-Aini Hospital July 13 at the request of his defense team due to his medical condition.
Aboul Fotouh was arrested for his supposed role in what was termed the “Global Muslim Brotherhood Movement, an extended organization that transcends national borders. Other MB members who were arrested for the same case have also been issued release orders. One of them is Osama Nassar, another member of the Brotherhood’s Guidance Office.
There has been a crackdown on the group – which is considered illegal – in recent times and has included prominent members such as Mohamed Khayrat El-Shater and Essam El-Erian.
El-Shater, El-Erian and Aboul Fotouh are considered the moderate faction within the organization who are pushing the group to engage openly with other sectors of society and there has been speculation as to why they were targeted by the regime as opposed to hardliners led by Ezzat.
Recent reports have talked of a dispute within the upper echelons of the group, which allegedly almost led to the resignation of Supreme Guide Mohamed Mahdi Akef, and specifically between the moderates and hardliners in the Guidance Office.
The disagreement is deemed to be over the future direction of the group, whether to adopt a more pluralistic approach or maintain the status quo.
However, Ezzat dismissed talk of a dispute, labeling it as a media creation more than anything and said, “Dr Aboul Fotouh is a member of the Guidance Office and his efforts as well as the efforts of Dr Nassar will improve the Brotherhood and in turn the country because in the end we are all working for the best interests of the country.