SA detainee in Egypt a priority for Dirco

Sheikh Bassiouni was arrested in December accused of being part of the Muslim Brotherhood.

A view of Egypt's Nile River. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says the Egyptian government is refusing to disclose why a South African man of Eqyptian descent is being unlawfully detained without charge.

Sheikh Bassiouni was arrested by national security at Cairo airport in early December after flying to Egypt for his daughter's engagement.

The 65-year-old community leader from Lenasia is accused of being part of the Muslim brotherhood, a claim his family denies.

A distressed Zahra Bassiouni says her family has had no contact with her father since he was detained.

She's also adamant her father has no political affiliations

"It is all mistaken information and allegations; and it's purely incorrect. If there was anything related to the Muslim Brotherhood, there aren't any charges."

International relations spokesperson Nelson Kgwete says the department is not giving up on Bassiouni's case.

"They won't tell us why he is in jail. That is why we are putting pressure on them to disclose the reasons for the detention or to set him free."

Kgwete says international relations deputy minister Luwellyn Landers has met with the Egyptian ambassador in Pretoria and the matter has been prioritised.