Egypt's former military chief of staff and current presidential candidate, Lieutenant General Sami Anan, was arrested for announcing his candidacy to the upcoming presidential elections. His arrest came soon after Egypt's military released a statement that was read on state television accusing him of seeking presidential office "without getting prior approval from the armed forces".
"This goes far beyond these charges", said Mostafa Elshall, the director of Anan's office and a close friend, suggesting the measures were meant to deter Anan's presidential bid.
The Egyptian Armed Forces launched an investigation against their former chief of staff Sami Annan on Tuesday, claiming he had forged official documents that would allow him to run for president in March.
On Friday, incumbent President, Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi, formally announced he will be running for a second and final term.
That leaves prominent rights lawyer Khaled Ali as the only serious would-be candidate to challenge el-Sissi.
According to the Presidential elections law and the Egyptian constitution, presidential Candidates must receive endorsements from a minimum of 20 MPs, or 25,000 citizens from at least 15 governorates, with at least 1,000 endorsements from each governorate.
Annan was chief of staff under longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak and then was removed from his post, along with the defense minister, by President Mohammed Morsi, the Brotherhood stalwart elected after Mubarak's ouster in 2011.
President Sisi also placed a wreath of flowers in front of the monument that commemorates police martyrs and honored their families along with security chiefs.
In a televised statement broadcast Saturday, Anan announced his decision to run in elections slated for March. 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.
"We've reached a state of madness in Egypt", said Al-Shal, the office manager.
These include former Armed Forces Colonel Ahmed Konsowa who was detained on charges of "disobeying military orders by expressing his political views" and "committing acts that violate military norms by publishing a video on Facebook announcing his plan to run for the presidency". But Ali's candidacy is also at risk because he was convicted in September of making an obscene hand gesture in public, and if that ruling is upheld on appeal, he will be ineligible.
Three other potential presidential candidates have already dropped out of the race.
Lieutenant General Sami Anan was the Chief of Staff of Egypt's Armed Forces from 2005 until August 2012; he kept his seat after the 2011 revolution, but was sacked by former President Mohamed Morsi.
Ahmed Shafik, a former prime minister and air force chief, abandoned a bid this month, saying that after several years living overseas he was out of touch with Egyptian politics.
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