An Egyptian human rights researcher at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) told Ahram Online on Tuesday that he was banned from travelling to Germany after he was invited by the German Green Party to take part in a discussion panel on human rights in Egypt.
The discussion panel comes at the same time of Egyptian president Abdel Fattah El-Sisi's official two-day visit to Germany.
"While heading to my plane, which was due in the early hours on Tuesday, I was stopped at the airport’s passport and migration authority, and then my passport was handed to the interior ministry," says Mohamed Lotfy, the researcher at the ECRF.
Afterwards, he met an official from a security apparatus, who refused to uncover the identity of the body he works for, and explained to Lotfy that his passport would be confiscated and that he would not be able to travel.
"’You will not be able to travel for security reasons,’ the security official told me in a one-on-one meeting, without providing me with any further information," said Lotfy.
"He added that they would call me for another meeting later and that all the details I need to know would be given to me in due time," he said.
Lotfy has been a human rights researcher for over eight years, he said. He worked for New York-based human rights watchdog Amnesty International bureau in Cairo for six years, he told Ahram Online. He then was among the founders of the ECRF in 2013.
Mina Thabet, a colleague at the ECRF, told Ahram Online that Lotfy was an “academic person without any affiliations to any particular political groups”.
"We at the ECRF are very confused by what happened with our colleague, especially since there is no clear reason behind his passport’s confiscation and the ban of him travelling," says Thabet.