Former Egyptian presidential candidate banned from foreign travel


An Egyptian judge issued an order banning a former presidential candidate travelling abroad over suspicions he may be linked to a case alleging foreign financing to harm national security, state news agency MENA reported.

Khaled Ali, a prominent rights lawyer who ran in the 2012 presidential election, had not previously been part of the case, in which several non-government organisations (NGOs) are accused of receiving foreign funds.

Ali, who denied any involvement, told Reuters he “had not been summoned for questioning at any time during this period”.

Ali came seventh in Egypt’s first free presidential election in 2012, which Islamist Mohamed Mursi won.

Last year, he announced his intention to challenge President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in his bid for a second term. He later withdrew saying conditions did not allow for a fair contest.

The case, which affects a number of people, including Hossam Bahgat, founder of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), and Gamal Eid, founder of the Arab Network for Human Rights Information, dates back to late 2011.

Government has long accused human rights groups of using foreign funds to stoke unrest and several face investigation.

Egyptian rights activists say they face the worst crackdown in their history under Sisi, accusing him of eroding freedoms won in the 2011 Arab Spring uprising that ended Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

Last month, a court upheld a three-month suspended prison sentence against Ali on charges of public indecency in a case dating back to 2017, with him maintaining his innocence.