Egypt's top prosecutor Nabil Sadek has ordered an asset freeze on Strong Egypt Party founder and opposition figure Abdel-Moniem Abul-Fotouh and 15 others for alleged ties to terrorist activity.
Abul-Fotouh was arrested last week, a day after he returned from London where he had given interviews critical of the government. The former Islamist presidential candidate and 15 others were also placed by a court decision on the country's terrorist list for alleged ties to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group.
The asset freeze orders described Abul-Fotouh as a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The terrorist designation followed a request from State Security prosecutors after investigations showed Abul-Fotouh and the others "led and joined a group established in violation of the law with the aim of harming the interests of the Egyptian state," state news agency MENA said, in reference to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The list includes Maha Azzam of the Chatham House think tank in London and the head of the so-called "Egyptian Revolutionary Council," Mahmoud Ezzat, the London-based acting Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide.
According to Egypt's "Terrorism Entity" law, individuals placed on the terrorism list are banned from travel, added on a watchlist, and subjected to an asset freeze. The designation decision can be appealed.
Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation in December 2013.
Abul-Fotouh was ordered remanded into custody for 15 days pending investigations into charges including "publishing and broadcasting false news harming national interests" and "leading an illegal group" that aims to topple the regime and disrupt public order.
He was detained days after an interview with the Qatari-based new outlet Al-Jazeera Mubasher, which Egypt has banned, in which he criticised President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi for involving the military in politics and mishandling the economy.
The interior ministry accused him of holding “secret meetings” with leaders of the international Muslim Brotherhood organisation in London earlier this month to carry out a plot aimed at sparking off unrest and instability in the country.
Abul-Fotouh was among several Egyptian politicians who called last month for a boycott of the upcoming presidential elections, due in late March.