Former Egyptian military chief of staff General Sami Anan, who was detained in January after announcing plans to compete in a presidential election, is in critical condition in hospital, according to two sources close to his family.
Anan, 70, was admitted to the intensive care unit at a military hospital in Cairo’s Maadi suburb on Saturday and is on life support after suffering a chest infection and back problems that have impaired his ability to move, the sources said.
“He is in a very critical situation in the intensive care unit,” Reuters cited one of the sources.
Military spokesman Colonel Tamer al-Rifai was not immediately available for comment.
The sources said Anan, who was detained in January, was held in a military prison until he suffered a stroke more than two months ago and was moved to the military hospital. They said his health had been improving and that the setback was a surprise.
Anan’s family last visited him about a week ago and said he was in good health, the sources said.
Abdel Fattah al-Sisi was sworn in for his second four-year term with a slide victory, though the election was widely seen as a farce. The election featured only one other candidate, an ardent Sisi supporter, after opposition contenders halted their campaigns in January.
All other political competitors either arrested, sidelined or withdrew.
Anan, seen as Sisi’s main challenger, was arrested and halted his presidential bid after the army accused him of running for office without permission, which it said was a breach of military law.
The army, which is loyal to Al- Sisi, said that Anan had announced his candidacy “without getting permission from the armed forces” and accused him of failing to formally leave the military before entering politics.
Just as the army statement was released, Anan’s campaign aides said he had been arrested.
Anan’s spokesman denied that he had broken any laws.
Anan’s detention appeared was the latest step of a coordinated campaign to force potential challengers to al-Sisi to abandon the race.