Egypt says wanted ex-minister arrested in Italy released

CAIRO — Egypt said Thursday that Italian authorities released a former minister wanted by Cairo on fraud charges after briefly detaining him.

Mohammed Mahsoob was released after the Italians determined he has held Italian citizenship since 2016, Egypt's Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It added that it will monitor Mahsoob's case through its embassy in Rome.

He briefly served as minister of state for parliamentary affairs in 2012 as a leading member of the Islamist al-Wasat party under former President Mohammed Morsi, of the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group. Mahsoob fled Egypt after the military overthrew Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his divisive one-year rule.

Mahsoob is listed under the Interpol's "red notice" at the request of Egyptian authorities. A red notice informs Interpol's member countries that the person listed is wanted "based on an arrest warrant or equivalent judicial decision issued by a country or an international tribunal."

On Wednesday, Mahsoob released an online video saying he was held at Comiso police station in southern Italy based on "fabricated charges" at Egypt's request.

Since 2013, Egyptian authorities have waged a massive crackdown on Islamists in which hundreds have been killed and thousands jailed. The campaign has also swept up many of the liberals and pro-democracy activists who spearheaded the 2011 popular uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

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