Egypt‘s former presidential candidate Abdel Moneim Aboul Fotouh has suffered two heart attacks in prison, his son has said, adding his father may die there because of the harsh conditions under which he is held.
Aboul Fotouh’s son, Ahmed, wrote on Facebook on Saturday his father, who is a leading opposition figure, may succumb to the “deliberate” abuse in Cairo’s Torah prison “at any time”.
A former member of the Muslim Brotherhood and leader of the centrist Strong Egypt Party, Aboul Fotouh ran as an independent candidate in the 2012 presidential elections, gaining nearly a fifth of the vote in the first round.
Aboul Fotouh was detained in February 2018, ahead of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s re-election, on charges of being part of a banned group, unspecified by Egypt’s prosecution, but widely believed to be the Brotherhood. He is also being accused of spreading false news.
“Today, while we were waiting to visit him, he had a heart attack,” Ahmed Aboul Fotouh said on Facebook. “His condition improved after receiving treatment and we visited him. We then learnt he had a heart attack yesterday night, too.”
“Two heart attacks within less than 24 hours! And the reason is the inhumane prison conditions and deliberate abuse,” he added.
The news comes two weeks after the death of former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who collapsed while attending his trial in Cairo.
Morsi fell unconscious inside the courtroom, and state television later said he died of a heart attack.
Aboul Fotouh’s family members have repeatedly complained about the circumstances of the opposition figure’s detention, saying his solitary confinement serves no other purpose than to physically and mentally abuse him.
The family also stressed that his condition was getting worse due to medical negligence.
On Thursday, the Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights and the Adalah Center for Rights and Freedoms submitted a petition to the public prosecutor concerning the “deteriorating health situation of Aboul Fotouh”, demanding urgent intervention to “save him from the deliberate medical negligence”.
Aboul Fotouh was arrested in February 2018 after he returned from London where he was interviewed by Al Jazeera, which is banned in Egypt. In that interview, he criticised el-Sisi ahead of his re-election for a second term the following month.
One of the most prominent opposition figures in Egypt, Aboul Fotouh had already been arrested several times under the rule of former President Hosni Mubarak.
He was among the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership before leaving the group and running for president in 2012.