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Monday, February 19 Crime news

The Latest: Egypt arrests ex-auditor amid election upheaval

CAIRO (AP) — The Latest developments ahead of Egypt's presidential election in March (all times local):

1:10 p.m.

A lawyer for Egypt's former top anti-graft official says authorities have arrested his client, the latest chapter in the upheaval that has gripped the country ahead of next month's presidential election.

The lawyer, Ali Taha, says Hesham Genena was arrested on Tuesday at his home in a Cairo suburb.

The arrest came a day after the military said it would take action to safeguard its "honor and dignity" following incendiary comments by Genena. The ex-auditor told a television interviewer this week that former military chief of staff Sami Annan is in possession of documents incriminating the country's "leadership."

Genena said the documents are kept abroad and would be released if any harm came to Annan.

Annan was arrested by the military last month, days after he declared his intention to run for president. It says he faces charges of incitement against the military and forgery. Genena was to be one of Annan's two top campaign aides.

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10:50 a.m.

Over a dozen international and regional rights groups are saying that next month's presidential election in Egypt does not meet the "minimum requirements" for a fair and free vote and called on Cairo's allies to denounce the "farcical" election.

The incumbent, general-turned-president Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, is virtually certain to win the March vote, his only challenger an obscure politician and one of his most ardent supporters.

Leaders of opposition parties who called for a boycott of the vote are being investigated on allegations they are seeking to destabilize the country.

The 14 groups, including Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists, said on Tuesday that el-Sissi's government has "suppressed freedoms, arrested potential candidates and rounded up their supporters."

They say Egypt is moving away from democracy with every election.

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