Missing Egyptian-German writer Hamed Abdel-Samad
An Egyptian-German novelist has disappeared in Cairo, his family and a security official said Monday.
The security official said the brother of 42-year-old Hamed Abdel-Samad, known for critical and sometimes provocative statements on religion and society, reported the dual national writer had been kidnapped.
Mahmoud Abdel-Samad told the private ONTV station that he is accusing businessmen that owe his brother large sums of money, as well as Islamists. He said his brother has been missing since Sunday.
The official said initial investigations pointed to a financial dispute, although authorities are also looking into suspicions that radicals have kidnapped the writer.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to discuss the investigation.
The brother could not immediately be reached for comment.
German Foreign Ministry Spokesman Martin Schaefer told reporters in Berlin on Monday that he couldn't confirm reports that German citizen Hamed Abdel-Samad had been kidnapped in Egypt. He did say Abdel-Samad's whereabouts were currently unknown and a crisis team has been set up to determine where he is.
Schaefer said the writer had been in contact with the German Embassy in Cairo about his personal security.
He said the German ambassador will meet with officials from the Egyptian Foreign Ministry and appeal for them to find Abdel-Samad. The ambassador has already had a phone conversation with Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Bahaaeddin, he said.