Full Name : Hazem Salah Abo Ismail
Date of birth: June 16, 1953
Hazem Salah Abo Ismail is a political activist and former presidential candidate in the 2012 elections who was disqualified after it was discovered that his late mother carried American citizenship; under Egyptian law both parents of any potential president must carry only Egyptian citizenship.
Abo Ismail was sentenced to a year in prison in January 2014 for contempt of court; he refused to recognize his trial on charges of lying on official applications, after allegedly concealing his mother’s second citizenship.
Following the 2013 ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Abo Ismail emerged as a prominent opposition voice, garnering many followers and supporters that have called themselves “Hazemoon.” His supporters blocked the entrance of the Egyptian Media Production City in December 2012 and then again in March 2013 for several days each time after Abo Ismail called on them in several interviews and sermons to protest what he called the media’s “biased and irrational attack” on Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood which according to him, aimed to “create instability and chaos in Egypt.”
Abo Ismail was born in Dokki, Giza, the son of an Islamic scholar in Al-Azhar, who was also allegedly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Abo Ismail graduated from Cairo University with a degree in law.
Abo Ismail was supported by the Muslim Brotherhood in parliament when he ran and lost in 2005 andlater supported the organization’s candidate and former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi in the 2012 presidential elections following Abo Ismail’s disqualification. As a lawyer, he defended members of the Brotherhood in several trials, most notably; he opposed trying Muslim Brotherhood members in military courts and has publicly protested military actions since the January 25 revolution.
Abo Ismail has often denied membership in the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that he is only sympathetic with their causes but is not an actual member of the organization.
Also an outspoken critic of Mubarak, Abo Ismail denounced the practices of the previous regime in his TV program on Al Nas TV channel, on which he accused the Mubarak regime of being a “dictatorship” that did not grant freedom of speech. Prior to the January 25 revolution and during one of Abo Ismail’s speeches in Ibn al-Furat mosque in 2008, electricity was cut inside the mosque, security officers surrounded the mosque and flooded it with water.
Abo Ismail vocally denounced the ouster of Morsi, calling it a “military coup,” and has labeled now-president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi an “emotional actor.” Abo Ismail was detained following the June 30 events that lead up to the ouster, and is facing charges of participation in violent attacks that have happened during the period from June 30 to July 3, 2013.