Egyptian economist freed after arrest over new book

AFP

CAIRO, Oct 30, 2018. Egyptian economist Abdel Khalek Farouk said Tuesday he has been released from jail after being arrested over his new book, which takes a critical look at the country’s finances.

“I got out last night,” he told AFP, cautioning that the public prosecutor had yet to decide whether to dismiss the case or to put him before a judge. Farouk, a well-known economist, was arrested on October 21 and accused of spreading “false information”.

His detention followed the publication of his book “Is Egypt Really a Poor Country?”, which argues the state suffers from bad management of public funds rather than a lack of resources.

Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to power in 2014, human rights groups have accused Egyptian authorities of muzzling all dissent. Officials argue they want to fight terrorism and the “spread of false information”, which they say harms the country’s interests.

Farouk said Sisi considers himself “above all criticism”. “If I’m sentenced for having said that Egypt isn’t poor but a rich country, I would be honoured with that charge,” he said.

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