SYDNEY (AP) — The family of an Australian man who was detained for a year and is now unable to leave Egypt has called on the Australian government to help get him out of the country.
Brisbane resident Hazem Hamouda was arrested in Cairo in January 2018 after arriving there with his family for a holiday.
Egyptian police accused him of having links to Islamist group the Muslim Brotherhood, which is banned in Egypt, and of spreading falsities online — allegations his family denies.
While Hamouda was freed from jail in February this year, Egyptian authorities stopped him boarding a Brisbane-bound flight in Cairo last month, despite Australian consular officials having escorted him to the airport.
Hamouda’s 30-year-old daughter Lamisse Hamouda called on Australian leaders to petition Egypt for her father’s release.
“We fear he could be rearrested at any point,” she said Tuesday.
“We’re a bit on tenterhooks at the moment. We just don’t want any trouble whatsoever at the airport.”
Hamouda’s family and his lawyer, Jen Robinson, have asked for the Australian government to provide the maximum level of support possible to help ensure his exit in the near future.
“It would be really great to see a public statement from either Marise Payne or Scott Morrison in support of dad and his safe return home to Australia,” Lamisse Hamouda said.
Little information about the allegations against Hamouda was provided to his family members. They’ve been left to speculate the accusations may be linked to Facebook posts Hamouda made during the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011.
Lamisse Hamouda said her father’s arrival in Cairo coincided with the anniversary of the Egyptian revolution — Jan. 25 — and that increased security on the day was likely to have brought him to attention of authorities.
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