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Egypt PM expropriates hotel in Cairo to secure President Sisi's motorcade

The property is located in Ibrahim Al Lakani Street on the daily route of Sisi's motorcade to and from the presidential palace
Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi's motorcade arriving ahead of his swearing-in ceremony for a second four-year term in office, 2 June 2018 (AFP)

Egypt's prime minister issued a decree on Tuesday expropriating a hotel in the upmarket Heliopolis district, east of the capital Cairo, to secure the daily route of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's motorcade.

The London-based Al-Araby Al-Jadeed newspaper reported that Mostafa Madbouly, the prime minister, based the expropriation decree on security reasons.

The property, currently the Heliopolis House Hotel, is located in Ibrahim Al-Lakani Street, on the daily route of Sisi's motorcade travelling from and to the al-Ittihadiya Palace in Cairo.

The premises of number 21 on the street will be immediately seized based on a law issued in 1990 and amended in 2020 that allows the government to expropriate land and buildings for public benefit.

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The Egyptian government said that it would compensate the building owners and that a state-owned real state company would handle the payment and the transition of the ownership to the state.

However, this is the third property seized around the presidential al-Ittihadiya Palace in recent years by the Sisi government to secure his motorcade.

Some Egyptians questioned the decision, saying that former Egyptian presidents had used the same route and did not need to confiscate buildings for security reasons.

The properties around al-Ittihadiya Palace are of high real estate value, with banks, retail, communication, restaurants, hotels, and aviation companies setting up branches in the area.

Madbouly issued the decree after a request was submitted by the head of the Office of the President. Sisi authorised Madbouly to seize the property, according to a republican order No. 289 of 2018.

Sisi's government had passed a constitutional amendment enabling it to confiscate lands and buildings from Egyptians to use them for "public interests". However, critics of the law say that the government uses it drastically to build flyovers, roads, and sometimes for security reasons.

Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported that Sisi had formed a special force to protect his security amid increased fears of assassination or a military coup.

The force recruited the best skills of officers from the feared General Intelligence Security (GIS), Egypt's internal intelligence arm. In 2015, three army officers were sentenced to death after being accused of plotting an assassination attempt on Sisi.

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