Coptic priest held in Cairo airport over Maspero travel ban

Ahram Online , Wednesday 4 Apr 2012

Travel ban lifted on Priest Felopateer Aziz, accused of inciting violence against armed forces during last year's Maspero massacre, after being detained for a few hours at Cairo airport by military intelligence

Priest Felopateer
Priest Felopateer (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Airport security authorities detained a Coptic priest Felopateer Aziz, who is appealing a military court travel ban, on Wednesday, as he was attempting to leave the country on a British airplane heading to London.  According to sources in Cairo airport, security transferred him to military intelligence where he was kept for a few hours before he was allowed to continue his journey.

His travel ban has now officially been lifted.

The priest of the Virgin Mary Church in Cairo was accused by the military of inciting hatred and violence against the armed forces, during a march led by Christian protesters to state television headquarters Maspero in October last year.  

Now known as the Maspero massacre, on 9 October 2011, military police attacked the peaceful protest, killing over 27 protesters and injuring hundreds.  The event was seen as one of the bloodiest state-led crackdowns since the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Felopateer was consequently interrogated by the Ministry of Justice last year and banned from leaving the country.

The authorities stopped Felopateer from continuing his journey on Wednesday, when his name was found in the travel ban database.

Priest Felopateer had already appealed to the criminal court against the order from the magistrate to forbid him from travelling. The criminal court accepted his appeal two weeks ago and lifted the ban.

However, he was arrested Wednesday because there was another travel ban issued by the military prosecution which has now been lifted.  

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