Passport authorities at Cairo International airport held back 19 young Egyptian men who were attempting to fly to Libya via Sharjah, United Arab Emirates on Tuesday in search of job opportunities, according to state-owned agency MENA.
Egypt has banned its citizens from travelling to countries of conflict, like Libya, which require security permits. From the 19 travellers held back at the airport, 13 came from Kafr El-Sheikh and the rest came from El-Gharbeya, El-Menoufiya, El-Fayoum, and Qena.
While carrying out the regular travel procedures for passengers departing for Sharjah, the officers at the passport checkpoint were suspicious about this group in particular. So the head of the airports internal auditing division, along with one of the officers, examined their travel papers to find that they do not hold UAE visa permits for either residency or employment.
The young men admitted to the head of airport investigations bureau that they secured a deal with a travel agency based in Daqahleya, and the agents were the ones who booked the tickets on their behalf.
The chief of airport security therefore banned them from travelling and told MENA that they legal action will be taken against them.
“The legal situation here is unknown since their travel plans were carried out legally—it isn’t an illegal migration case, for example. However, they should be presented before the prosecution 24 hours after their arrest,” Haleem Henish, lawyer at the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms told Daily News Egypt. “Similar situations have happened before and the travellers were accused of being affiliated with terrorist groups like the Islamic State.”
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Civil Aviation Ehab Raslan was not available for comment.