Egypt rounds up regime critics amid calls to protest

CAIRO (AA) – Egyptian state prosecutors on Friday remanded Masoum Marzouk, a prominent opposition figure and former diplomat, along with six others, in custody for 15 days, pending investigation into charges against them.

Those charges include “inciting unrest” and “membership in a terrorist organization”, Tarek al-Awadi, a lawyer for the defendants, told local media outlets.

On Thursday evening, security forces detained Marzouk, economist Raed Salama, academic Yehia al-Qazzaz, and four other critics of the regime of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi.

Earlier this month, Marzouk called for a popular referendum on whether al-Sisi should step down and for public demonstrations on Aug. 31 should the authorities refuse the demand.

A vocal critic of the current regime, Marzouk held several diplomatic posts under former President Hosni Mubarak, who was forced to step down — after 30 years in power — following a 2011 popular uprising.

Al-Sisi came to power in 2013 on the back of a bloody military coup against Mohamed Morsi, who became Egypt’s first-ever freely-elected leader in a presidential poll held one year earlier.

Morsi, along with hundreds of supporters and members of his banned Muslim Brotherhood group, has remained behind bars since the 2013 coup.