Egypt places football star Mohamed Aboutrika on terror list

The 37-year-old, who played for the UAE's Baniyas club on loan in 2013, is accused of financing the banned Muslim Brotherhood

Mohamed Aboutrika is pictured playing for the UAE's Baniyas team during a GCC Champions League match against Al Khor in Doha on May 17, 2013. Karim Jaafar / Al Watan Doha / AFP
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CAIRO // An Egyptian court has added former football star Mohamed Aboutrika to the authorities’ terror list, his lawyer said on Tuesday, based on suspicions he financed the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

In 2015 a government committee froze the assets of the former player for Cairo-based club Al Ahly and Egypt’s national team, two years after he retired.

The government accuses him of financing the Brotherhood, which was classified as a terrorist organisation at the end of 2013.

According to an antiterror law imposed in 2015 by president Abdel Fattah El Sisi, anyone on the country’s terror list is subject to a travel ban, with their passport and assets liable to be frozen.

Aboutrika, one of the most successful African footballers of his generation, publicly endorsed the presidential bid of the Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi in 2012.

Morsi went on to become Egypt’s first democratically elected president, only for the army to remove him from power one year later and ban the Brotherhood.

Aboutrika’s lawyer, Mohamed Osman, said the court’s decision was “contrary to the law” and that the retired player “has not been convicted or formally notified of any of the charges against him”.

“We will appeal this decision,” he said, adding that the freeze on Aboutrika’s assets was still in force, despite two court orders that it be lifted.

In an interview with the state-run Al Ahram newspaper in May 2015, Aboutrika denied his company – or any of his partners – had ever funded the Islamist movement.

Aboutrika, who played on loan for the UAE’s Baniyas club in 2013, retired later that year. The 37-year-old has since avoided expressing his political views publicly.

* Agence France-Presse