By Hussein al-Qabbani
CAIRO (AA) - Gen. Sami Anan, a former army chief-of-staff and would-be presidential candidate, has been detained by the Egyptian authorities for questioning, according to his official spokesman.
“Sami Anan the presidential candidate has been arrested and yesterday 30 persons of his campaign [were also detained] by the al-Sisi regime,” campaign spokesman Mahmoud Refaat tweeted in English.
Refaat went on to hold the regime of President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi “entirely responsible” for the safety of the detained individuals.
Earlier Tuesday, the army had accused Anan of committing a handful of "irregularities" after the latter announced his intention to contest upcoming polls.
In a televised statement broadcast Saturday, Anan announced his decision to run in elections slated for March.
On Tuesday, however, a televised army statement read: “The Egyptian Armed Forces cannot ignore that Anan has committed legal violations that constitute a serious breach of army regulations.”
The army went on to accuse Anan of having committed three separate violations of military protocol.
These breaches, the army asserted, had included a failure to obtain the military’s consent before announcing his presidential bid; “inciting” the public against Egypt’s armed forces; and “falsifying official documents”.
In his candidacy announcement on Saturday, Anan had criticized what he described as "the deterioration of living standards for the Egyptian people and the erosion of the Egyptian state’s ability to deal with the issues of land, water and human resources”.
Anan went on to cite “erroneous policies”, which, he said, had forced Egypt’s military to bear many of the responsibilities traditionally borne by Egypt’s civil sector.
According to the army’s subsequent statement, Anan will now be subject to a formal investigation.
"We must pursue the appropriate legal channels if crimes or irregularities are committed, meaning that he [Anan] must be subject to interrogation by the competent authorities," read the army statement.
Aside from the army, none of Egypt’s security agencies have yet to comment on Anan’s detention.
Last Friday, Hazem Hosni, another Anan spokesman, announced that the former army chief would officially request permission for his presidential run from Egypt’s Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF).
In the run-up to Egypt’s 2014 presidential election, which was swept by al-Sisi, Anan had announced his intention to run before quickly reversing his decision.
Anan served as army chief-of-staff from 2005 to 2012 before being dismissed by Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first-ever democratically elected civilian president.
Morsi, a leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group, was himself ousted in mid-2013 in a bloody military coup.
On Saturday, the Egyptian authorities began accepting candidacy applications for the upcoming polls. The candidacy-application period is scheduled to expire on Jan. 29.
Earlier this month, Ahmed Shafiq, former President Hosni Mubarak’s last prime minister, withdrew his presidential candidacy saying he was “not the best choice for managing the affairs of state in the coming period”.
Speaking to The New York Times, a lawyer for Shafiq accused the al-Sisi regime of forcing his client to drop out of the race -- a claim contradicted at the time by a spokesman for Shafiq’s political party.