Cairo: A new court ruling, placing Egypt’s retired football player Mohammad Abu Treika on a terrorism list has shattered his hopes for return to the homeland any time soon after years in self-exile.
Egypt’s official gazette this week published the verdict by the Cairo Criminal Court designating Abu Treika and 1,527 others as terrorists over illegal funding of the now-banned Muslim Brotherhood, the second such listing in more than two years for the football legend.
In 2017, another court placed Abu Treika and many Brotherhood members, including ousted president Mohammad Mursi, on the terror list.
Abu Treika has challenged that ruling and Egypt’s top court has set July 4 to make a final decision.
Abu Treika has been staying in Qatar for more than three years, working as a TV sports commentator.
The new ruling against him is related to a separate case and should be appealed within 60 days of its publication in the official gazette, according to legal experts.
“In view of the latest ruling, Abu Treika can be arrested upon his arrival in the country,” Sabry Shawkat, a lawyer said.
“Regardless of the Court of Cassation’s decision on July 4, he has to file his appeal against the second ruling,” Shawkat told Gulf News.
The latest verdict extends freezing assets of the defendants in the first case including Abu Treika and put all of them on the watch list at Egyptian airports, according to Shawkat.
The same measures apply to new defendants, including Egyptian-born Qatari cleric Yousuf Al Qaradawi and his adult children.
In March, Abu Treika, 38, tweeted that he hoped to return to Egypt “soon”.
Last year, his father died in his home village south of Cairo, but he could not return to Egypt for fear of arrest.
Abu Treika, quitted playing football in 2013 after representing top Cairo club Al Ahly and Egypt’s national team.
He played a major role in Egypt winning the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2008.
Abu Treika repeatedly voiced his backing to Mursi, whom the army deposed in 2013 after enormous street protests against his year-long rule.
However, he has not said clearly he is a member of Muslim Brotherhood, designated as a terrorist organisation is Egypt.
Abu Treika is nicknamed by his fans as the “Prince of Hearts” and the “Saint” due to his support for the poor and Palestinians living in Gaza Strip.