Abul-Naga claims no prior knowledge of travel ban decision

Ahram Online, Sunday 4 Mar 2012

Minister leading campaign against NGOs in Egypt says she read about lifting of travel ban on indicted foreigners in newspaper, according to Abbas Abdel-Aziz MP

International Cooperation Minister Fayza Abul-Naga, in charge of supervising the case against nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in Egypt, has claimed she did not know the travel ban on indicted foreigners had been lifted until after it happened.

Abbas Abdel-Aziz MP, who heads parliament's economics committee, said Abul-Naga had told him she read about the lifting of the travel ban in the newspaper.

The pair were speaking before Sunday's closed session of parliament.

At least thirteen foreign nationals, including several US citizens – out of 43 people charged with working in Egypt and raising US funds without appropriate government authorisation – departed Egypt on a US military plane on Thursday.

The presiding judge in the case recused himself on Wednesday without disclosing the reason.

On Thursday, Abdel-Ezz Ibrahim, the head of the Court of Appeal, declared that an unknown judge had lifted the travel ban. Many observers believe judicial independence was violated.

Several judges have accused Judge Ibrahim of pressuring the presiding judge to step down in order to replace him with somebody who would lift the travel ban.

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