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Egypt frees Briton arrested over police-like clothes

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Briton released on the orders of the general prosecution of El-Arish

Egyptian armed police patrol a street in the village of Kerdassah on the outskirts of Cairo, on September 19, 2013 (AFP/File, Khaled Desouki)

Egyptian armed police patrol a street in the village of Kerdassah on the outskirts of Cairo, on September 19, 2013 (AFP/File, Khaled Desouki)

AFP - Egyptian authorities freed Monday a Briton who was arrested in the restive north Sinai town of El-Arish for possessing clothes similar to police uniforms, state media reported.

The Briton, who was not identified, was released on the orders of the general prosecution of El-Arish, said the official MENA news agency.

“The decision to release him comes after an investigation found him to be a pharmacist who had come to offer aid,” the report said.

“He has no relation with any organisation or group and the clothes which he had were bought by him abroad before coming to Egypt.”

Police said earlier the 44-year-old also had a laptop with a picture of a man suspected of belonging to the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas that rules neighbouring Gaza.

It said police had searched for the man after receiving reports of “a foreigner who frequents cafes and mixes with citizens.

“He was found in possession of a black jacket, black trousers and a pair of shoes suspected of being a Central Security Forces uniform,” a police statement said, adding he also had two cellphones.

Wearing clothes that resemble police or military uniforms can lead to arrest in Egypt.

The Briton’s detention came a day after an American man arrested in north Sinai in August hanged himself in a jail cell.

James Lunn had been detained for violating a curfew imposed in August as security forces battled loyalists of ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Britain advises its citizens against all travel to north Sinai.

The province has seen a spate of attacks on the security forces since Morsi’s overthrow and a subsequent crackdown on his supporters.

 


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