Egypt detains leading youth activist Ahmed Maher

April 6 Youth Movement protest in Cairo. 6 April 2013 The April 6 Youth Movement has become highly critical of President Mohammed Morsi

Egyptian security forces have detained a prominent activist on suspicion of inciting an anti-government protest.

Ahmed Maher, who leads the April 6 Youth Movement, was arrested at Cairo airport after flying back from the US, officials said.

The April 6 Youth Movement was at the forefront of protests that overthrew former leader Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

Mr Mubarak's retrial on charges linked to the revolt is due to begin on Saturday.

He is charged alongside a former interior minister and six former security chiefs with complicity in the killing of hundreds of protesters.

Mr Mubarak will also face charges of financial corruption alongside his two sons, Alaa and Gamal.

The official Mena news agency said Mr Maher's passport was confiscated and he was ordered to be detained for four days.

A security official quoted by AP news agency said Mr Maher was accused of "incitement" following a demonstration in March against the country's interior minister.

Protesters hurled underwear at the minister's house following a police crackdown on the activist group.

Mr Maher is being held on the premises of the prosecutor's office in Cairo's eastern district of Nasr City, the official said.

Activists 'targeted'

Ingi Hamdi, a senior member of the April 6 Youth Movement, denounced the arrest and pledged a "tough" response

"This is part of a series of arrests targeting activists... to undermine their reputation," she said.

Correspondents say the youth movement - hailed as heroes in the aftermath of Hosni Mubarak's downfall - has since split into two factions.

It supported President Mohammed Morsi during the June presidential elections but later became increasingly vocal in its opposition to the Islamist leader.

Days before his arrest, Mr Maher had expressed regret for the group's alliance with Mr Morsi and his main backers, the Muslim Brotherhood.

He wrote on the group's website: "Now we are being treated as traitors and our image has been tarnished and we are sent to prisons by those we defended."

More on This Story

Egypt transition

More Middle East stories


Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage

  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world

  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop

  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Woman standingMysterious miracle

    It's extremely unusual and shouldn't give false hope, but what makes the body beat cancer on its own?


  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach - why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.