Egypt's opposition calls for release of ex-diplomat

An Egyptian opposition coalition of secular and left-leaning parties is urging authorities to immediately release a former diplomat who earlier this month called for a referendum on President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's government.

Masoum Marzouk, who served in the Egyptian army's special forces, was arrested along with other activists on Thursday. They were ordered to remain in custody for 15 days pending an investigation into terror-related charges.

The Civil Democratic Movement coalition said on Monday in a press conference that the arrests were "part of the government crackdown to silence opposition voices."

Marzouk proposed a roadmap for a political transition if Egyptians voted against the government. He also said that if the government didn't respond to his call he would organise a "popular conference" in Cairo's Tahrir Square, epicentre of the 2011 uprising.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook