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| 16 December, 2017

Egyptian presidential hopeful apologises to arrested supporters

Shafik recently returned from exile in the United Arab Emirates to where he fled in 2012

Egypt's former prime minister Ahmed Shafik speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Abu Dhabi February 6, 2013.

Egypt's former prime minister Ahmed Shafik speaks during an interview with Reuters at his residence in Abu Dhabi February 6, 2013.

REUTERS/Jumana El-Heloueh
CAIRO: Egyptian presidential hopeful Ahmed Shafik apologised on Saturday to supporters who were arrested this week and called on authorities to resolve the situation.

Police arrested three members of Shafik's Egyptian National Movement on Wednesday and charged them with spreading false information harmful to national security, two security sources told Reuters

Shafik, a former prime minister and ex-air force commander who is seen as the most serious potential challenger to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in an election due early next year, apologised for the trouble caused to the detainees and their families.

"I call on the relevant authorities to clarify the situation quickly, for it is dangerous," Shafik said on his Twitter account.

President Sisi, a former military chief, is seen by many Egyptians as the only person able to provide stability after years of turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising that ousted veteran leader Hosni Mubarak.

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Shafik recently returned from exile in the United Arab Emirates to where he fled in 2012 after a narrow electoral defeat to Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Mursi was removed from office in a military takeover led by Sisi in 2013.

Two weeks ago, Shafik said he was still deciding whether or not to run for the presidency in 2018.

(Reporting by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Robin Pomeroy) ((Nadine.Awadalla@thomsonreuters.com;))