Egypt frees Sudanese student arrested during protests and accused of spying

Egypt frees Sudanese student arrested during protests and accused of spying
Egyptian authorities have freed a Sudanese student who was detained during a crackdown on anti-Sisi protests and forced to confess on television.
2 min read
03 October, 2019
Waled Abdulrahman's arrest in Egypt led to protests in Sudan [Getty]

Egyptian authorities have freed a Sudanese student detained during a crackdown on protests against President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Khartoum's embassy in Cairo said Wednesday.

Anti-Sisi protests erupted on September 20 after viral videos posted by an exiled Egyptian businessman accusing the president and the military of corruption tapped into discontent over economic woes.

The videos accused Sisi of using public money to build palaces for himself at a time when harsh austerity measures were being imposed on the Egyptian public. The resulting scandal has been dubbed “Palacegate”.

Rights groups say more than 2,000 people, including lawyers, activists, professors and journalists, were detained in a wave of arrests.

Sudan said Sunday that student Waled Abdulraham was among those detained and that its embassy had not been given access to him.

The foreign ministry summoned Cairo's envoy to Khartoum in protest at his detention.

"As a result of efforts taken by Sudan's ministry of foreign affairs and Sudan's embassy in Cairo, student Waled Abdulrahman has been released," the embassy said in a statement issued to journalists in Khartoum.

"Tonight he will leave Cairo for Khartoum."

Egyptian state television had previously aired a confession by Abdulrahman in which he said that he was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and had taken part in anti-Sisi protests.

His family denied that he had been involved in any way with the protests.

On Sunday, dozens of Sudanese had demonstrated outside the foreign ministry in Khartoum to call for Abdulrahman's release.

Sisi overthrew Egypt’s first democratically elected president, the late Mohamed Morsi, in 2013 and is seen as one of the most authoritarian figures in the Middle East.

In Sudan, a months-long protest movement led to the military's ouster of longtime ruler Omar al-Bashir on April 11.