Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood elects Salah Abdulhaq as new acting leader
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood group has elected Salah Abdulhaq as its new acting leader, following the death of his London-based predecessor late last year.
A statement released by the group late on Sunday said 78-year-old Abdulhaq would succeed Ibrahim Mounir who died in November at the age of 85.
Currently residing in Istanbul, it remained unclear whether Abdulhaq would remain there given the recent warming of ties between Egypt and Turkey.
The Brotherhood, Egypt's largest opposition group, has been the subject of a relentless crackdown by President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi since he ousted his predecessor Mohamed Morsi in a 2013 military coup.
Sisi has overseen what HRW calls "the worst crackdown on human rights in the country's modern history," which includes the imprisonment of most of the Brotherhood's senior leadership, including its general guide, Mohamed Badie, who recently launched a hunger strike in protest of his treatment at the notorious Badr 3 prison near Cairo.
Sisi's crackdown has also targeted secular and liberal members of the opposition, many of whom had initially supported the coup.
Abdulhaq will now serve as acting leader with Badie currently unable to carry out his duties.
According to Abdelrahman Ayyash, a writer and human rights activist, Abdulhaq was born in Cairo on 1 October 1945 and grew up in a religiously conservative family in Cairo's upper-middle-class neighbourhood of Heliopolis.
He joined the Brotherhood in 1962, and was detained three years later at the age of 19 during the rule of then President Gamal Abdel Nasser who had also suppressed the Brotherhood.
At the time, Abdulhaq was imprisoned along with Badie and his deputy Mahmoud Ezzat, who is also currently imprisoned in Egypt.
In 1985, Abdulhaq left Egypt for Saudi Arabia where he worked as a dermatologist before moving to Turkey.
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