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Egypt jails former presidential candidate for 15 years

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A former Egyptian presidential candidate in the 2012 elections in the North African country, Abdel Moneim Aboul Foutouh, was on Sunday, sentenced to 15 years in prison by an emergency court in Cairo after he was found guilty of giving “false information” and “undermining state security.”

Apart from Aboul Foutouh, who was a member of a proscribed Islamist body, the Muslim Brotherhood, 24 other members of the banned group also bagged various jail terms ranging from 10 years to life imprisonment, a judicial official said.

The former Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mahmoud Ezzat, was sentenced to life imprisonment for “espionage”, while Aboul Foutouh’s second in command in the Masr Qawiya Party, Mohammed al-Qassas, was sentenced 20 years in prison.

Aboul Foutouh was arrested on his return from London where he had granted interviews criticising the government and calling for a boycott of the presidential election that returned Abdel Fattah al-Sissi.

In 2012, he was a candidate in the election won by the Muslim Brother Mohamed Morsi who was overthrown by Sissi who was then head of the army, a year later.

Shortly after taking over power, Sissi placed Aboul Foutouh and other top Muslim Brotherhood members on a “terrorist” list and ordered that their assets to be quizzed for four years.

They were also indicted on charges of belonging to an “illegal organisation” before an anti-terrorism court.

While reacting to the sentencing, Amnesty International which recently placed Egypt at the top of the world record for death sentences with more than 350 in 2021, denounced the verdict, calling it a “totally unfair political trial.”

AI added that the the convicts had been subjected to “torture and ill-treatment” in detention, and called on Sissi to release them.

“Mr Aboul Foutouh, aged 70, has been deprived of medical care for years,” the human rights NGO said in a statement on Monday.

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Court summons Tunisian opposition leader, Rached Ghannouchi, over money laundering

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Tunisian opposition party, Ennahda has revealed that its leader, Rached Ghannouchi has been summoned by a judge over money laundering allegations.

The party revealed news of his summon on Wednesday and accused the authorities of targeting him for political reasons.

The summon is said to answer questions about the allegations, which Ennahda say are untrue and a result of “distortion and fabrication”.

Recall that a court in Tunisia in May, slammed a travel ban on Ghannouchi, alongside 33 other party faithful under the suspicion of involvement in an alleged parallel security service put into place after the 2011 Tunisian revolution.

Ghannouchi has been one of the loudest critics of president Kais Saied since the president seized broad powers last year, moved to rule by decree and ousted the elected parliament in which the Ennahda leader is speaker.

President Saied sacked the government, suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021. In December of the same year, he announced in a speech on national television a three-month “popular consultation” with the Tunisian people after which “draft constitutional and other reforms will be put forward to a referendum on July 25”.

Ghannouchi’s summon is not the first time the Judiciary since Saied came to power will take decision that is perceive by many to be targeted at the president’s rival.

In June, a Tunisian military court sentenced a prominent political opponent and rival of President Kais Saied, Seifeddine Makhlouf, to one year in prison and also banned him from practising law for five years.

President Saied’s seat-tight disposition has continued with controversial reforms despite criticisms and wild protests.

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Exiled former Burkina Faso’s president, Blaise Compaore, to return home

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Burkinabe authorities has revealed that former president of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaore will return from exile for the first time since being ousted in a 2014 uprising.

The junta led by Colonel Damiba made the revelation on Wednesday. Compaore will return home despite his conviction earlier this year for complicity in his predecessor’s murder.

Blaise Compaore was sentenced to life imprisonment by a military tribunal in April for the murder of his predecessor and ‘best friend’, Thomas Sankara, in a 1987 coup.

The statement from the presidency said the meeting of former heads of state “does not hinder judicial prosecutions engaged against some of them”, but did not elaborate.

An association of lawyers representing the families of Sankara and others killed during the 1987 coup demanded that Compaore be arrested once in Burkina Faso.

Local media have speculated in recent days that Compaore could be granted a pardon over the Sankara murder as part of the junta’s reconciliation process.

The coup that brought the current junta into power in Burkina Faso was launched on 23 January 2022 when gunfire erupted in front of the presidential residence in the Burkinabé capital Ouagadougou and several military barracks around the city.

The military Junta of Lieutenant-Colonel Damiba ceased power afterward and Christian Kabore has been on house arrest since then. Although fighting insurgency was one of the reasons for the last coup, Burkina Faso however remains in the eye of the storm with continuous terrorist attacks.

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