President Sisi pledges avenge for death of police martyrs

Egypt's former army chief of staff Sami Anan leaves a news conference at his office in Cairo

The Egyptian presidential hopeful and rights lawyer Khaled Ali has quit the race, becoming the latest would-be candidate who either has bowed out or been forced to abandon a challenge to the president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, before the March 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.

On Tuesday, another potential challenger for the presidency, Sami Anan, was arrested by the army.

It says Annan also failed to seek clearance from the military before declaring his intention to run in the March 27-28 elections.

Ali was the first person to announce, last November, that he would run against Sisi, who led the ouster of former President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood over four years ago.

Also Wednesday, Amnesty International said Annan's arrest was an attack on rights to public participation and freedom of expression.

They included the arrest of some of his campaign activists, a tight schedule that made it hard for potential candidates to gather the needed endorsements for their applications, and a generally unfair climate. In announcing his candidacy on Saturday, he lashed out at el-Sissi's record and pledged to appoint Hisham Geneina, a onetime anti-corruption czar fired by el-Sissi, as vice president for human rights.

The army spokesman said "the armed forces will not overlook the blatant legal violations [Anan] has committed which are a serious breach of the laws of military service".




Ali Taha, a lawyer, said he was asked by the campaign to defend Anan, who in his announcement speech said he had already put in place a team of civilians to support his bid, including Geneina.

But last summer Mr. Sisi sidestepped the courts and pushed through his decision on the islands, while Mr. Ali was convicted of public indecency for making an obscene gesture outside a courthouse.

The economy has been hit hard under Sisi as unrest in the country has continued since the Arab Spring-inspired protests ousted Mubarak in 2011, which has crippled the tourism sector.

The National Election Authority announced on January 8 that the deadline for applications would be January 29.

"Now we'll have to wait and see who will come up", Ashour said.

Nominations for the election close on Monday, but for now the only remaining candidate of note, aside Mr. Sisi, is Mortada Mansour, a flamboyant, publicity-loving lawmaker famous for swearing at government critics on television and running a major soccer team that has fallen from glory in recent years.

Ali, a prominent socialist, had entered the race as a symbol of Egypt's leftist revolutionary politics, but on Wednesday he told a press conference packed with supporters that "the opportunity for hope in this presidential election has gone".

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