By Onogwu Muhammed
Legendary Egypt forward Mohamed Aboutrika has been sentenced to a year in jail on charges of tax evasion, local media reported on Tuesday. Cairos misdemeanor court handed Aboturika the verdict after he was found guilty of evading taxes on earnings of 710,000 Egyptian pounds (about $40,000) for advertisements for a soft drink and a telecom firm in 2008 and 2009. According to the court order, the 40-year-old can pay 20,000 pounds as a bond to turn the prison term in a suspended sentence. Aboutrika has been living in Qatar since his retirement in 2013, where he works as a sports analyst for the beIN Sports network.
Muslim Brotherhood links
The Egyptian justice froze Aboutrikas assets in 2015 and placed him in a no-fly list in 2017 over allegations of links with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, which local authorities have labeled as a terrorist organization. The Brotherhood emerged as the countrys dominant political force after Egypts 2011 Arab Spring uprising, but it was later purged in 2013 by the current president Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.
Aboutrika openly sympathized with the Brotherhood and publicly endorsed its candidate Mohamed Morsi in his successful presidential run in 2012. Morsi was removed from the Executive by El-Sissi in the 2013 Egyptian coup détat.
Despite being labeled as a traitor by the Egyptian pro-government media, Aboutrika still enjoys huge support from football fans in the country. With the Pharaohs, he played 100 games between 2011 and 2013, scoring 38 goals and helping his country win the Africa Cup of Nations in 2006 and 2008.