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El-Shater’s bodyguard denies military training in Gaza - Daily News Egypt

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El-Shater’s bodyguard denies military training in Gaza

Khalil Al-Aqid, arrested on charges of possessing an illegal firearm, denied all links to the Muslim Brotherhood and its deputy supreme guide

Khairat El-Shater’s candidacy for the May election sent political shock waves throughout the post-uprising country (AFP/ CHIRS BOURNOCLE)

Prosecutors have ordered the mobile phone of Khalil Al-Aqid, said to be Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Supreme Guide Khairat El-Shater’s bodyguard, sent to the technical assistance unit at the Ministry of Interior for examination.

Authorities found photos of Al-Aqid dressed in Palestinian resistance fatigues and carrying various firearms on his phone, state run news agency MENA reported.

East Cairo Attorney General Mostafa Khater ordered the technical assistance unit to examine the photos found on the phone before sending it to the National Security agency to determine whether it amounts to evidence of other crimes.

Al-Aqid was initially arrested during the first round of the referendum on the constitution on Saturday 15 December in front of a polling station after being found in possession of a firearm.

He was charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and kept in detention for four days by the east Cairo prosecution. New Cairo Misdemeanour Court extended his detention to 15 days.

Khater ordered the weapon found with Al-Aqid inspected in order to determine whether or not it is licensed.

While in custody, prosecutors discovered photos of Al-Aqid carrying more firearms and donning the uniform of Al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, on his phone.

He was arrested in front of a polling station after failing to provide a policeman with a licence for his gun. He initially told the policeman he was El-Shater’s bodyguard and that he was assigned to protect the polling station.

Al-Aqid later changed his statement by denying being El-Shater’s bodyguard, stating he only worked for a private security company. He received a text message from his brother Belal while in custody saying, “Don’t mention the Brotherhood or El-Shater.”

He also said the photos were not real and that they were made using image editing software, denying membership of any kind with militias. He added there would be no reason for him to take compromising photos of himself that could later implicate him.

He admitted to having been to Gaza through the tunnels but said it was for charity work with an organisation called “Egypt for All” in 2008.

Al-Aqid said he received the weapon from a colleague Mamdouh El-Sayed, a retired army colonel. The prosecution has summoned El-Sayed for testimony.

Former judge and member of parliament Mahmoud Al-Khodeiry is Al-Aqid’s defence lawyer. He said Al-Aqid was married to a woman from Gaza and that the photos were taken during his wedding and not in a militia training exercise.

Al-Khodeiry is not a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, but received the party’s endorsement as an independent. He was made chairman of the Legislative and Constitutional Committee in the People’s Assembly.

He told the Masr Al-Gadeeda talk show that he was defending Al-Aqid as favour to a friend, but would not reveal whom. He added that the firearm found on Al-Aqid did not belong to him but that it was nonetheless licensed.

Muslim Brotherhood officials denied any link with Al-Aqid. The Brotherhood’s lawyer Abdel Moniem Abdel Maqsoud said that if Al-Aqid was a Brotherhood member they would have appointed him the best of lawyers.

“This person is not Khairat El-Shater’s bodyguard and has nothing to do with the Muslim Brotherhood, he is not a member,” Abdel Maqsoud said.

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