A young Egyptian inventor, Abdallah Assem (Photo: courtesy of Abdallah Assem Facbook)
A young Egyptian inventor, Abdallah Assem, has refused to return to Egypt after travelling to Los Angeles for an international science and engineering fair, according to his social media posts.
"Yes I am afraid to return back [to] Egypt, who is not afraid nowadays?" Assem wrote on his Facebook page.
He went to Los Angeles to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
However, Assem explained that he was afraid of being arrested upon arrival in Egypt. He was arrested on 24 April in Cairo's Bab El-Louk district on charges of illegal protesting and participating in the burning of a police vehicle. He was later released on bail pending trial.
However, in comments to Al-Ahram's Arabic news website, he denied the charges, insisting that he was simply walking through the area with his science equipment as a pro-Mohamed Morsi protest was taking place.
The 17-year-old is a senior in high school in Aswan, Upper Egypt. His research focuses on quadriplegic patients.
"I wish I could have lived [with] my family in Assuit and worked on my inventions and let Egypt benefit from them," Assem wrote on Facebook, adding that his decision to remain in the US has been encouraged by many other people.
Accompanying him to Los Angeles was an Egyptian delegate from the country's education ministry, who is required to return to Egypt with Assem, according to the ministry.
The delegate has since contacted the Egyptian Embassy in the US to prove that Assem is not willing to come back to Egypt.
In an earlier post, Assem said that his passport was taken at the Egyptian consulate in Los Angeles – proof that that he will be arrested as soon as he arrives in Egypt, he fears.
"I was willing to come back to take my final exams, but when I felt that security forces will arrest me as soon as I arrive [in] Cairo, I decided to stay," Assem explained in the Facebook post.
Last week, Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim reversed a decision barring the teenager from travelling to the US for the science fair.