Egypt's Ministry of Interior said in a statement on Thursday that the head of the Strong Egypt Party Abdel-Moneim Abul Fotouh plotted with members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood to destabilise the country ahead of the upcoming presidential elections.
Earlier on Thursday, Egypt's High State Security Prosecution ordered the detention of Abul Fotouh for 15 days pending investigations into charges including spreading false news aiming to harm national interests and being a leading member of an illegal group, referring to the Muslim Brotherhood.
The ministry said that the National Security apparatus received information that fugitive Muslim Brotherhood members abroad made contact with Abul Fotouh inside and outside the country in order to implement a plan "to destabilise the country amid a series of attacks against vital institutions to create a state of chaos that would enable [the Brotherhood] to return to the scene."
The statement added that Abul Fotouh had secret meetings abroad with Brotherhood members, the latest of which was in London on 8 February, where he met with leading Brotherhood members Mohamed Gamal Heshmet, Hossam El-Din Atef and Lotfy El-Sayed Ali.
The statement said that they plotted to foment dissent among political and student circles to take advantage of the political climate accompanying the upcoming presidential elections.
Abul Fotouh was received by Brotherhood members at Heathrow Airport before they arranged for him to give an interview with Al-AJazeera TV channel on 11 February, which included “false claims.”
Abul Fotouh, who was a presidential candidate in 2012, was arrested on Wednesday at his home in Cairo hours after he returned from a visit to London, where he gave interviews to the Qatari-based Al-Jazeera channel and Al-Araby TV channel which he criticised government policies.
The Strong Egypt leader had been a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood since his university years in the late 1970s. He reached the Brotherhood’s guidance bureau before he left the group in 2011 over organisational disagreements.
Egypt designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation shortly after the ouster of Islamist President Morsi in July 2013 over a series of terrorist attacks linked to the group.