Travel ban on police officer




By Mark Huband in Cairo

Financial Times, 3 May 1999

An Egyptian court has banned a senior police officer from travelling abroad after he published a series of articles alleging widespread corruption within the police force.

The ban on Mohamed el-Gannam, a colonel, is the latest of many measures taken against him by the Ministry of the Interior. He has accused ministry officials of human rights abuses and corruption, in articles published in opposition newspapers since 1997.

Before becoming disillusioned with the police force, he had been a distinguished legal adviser to the ministry, with a doctorate in criminal law. In the early 1990s he wrote extensively on how the government should confront the armed campaign being mounted by Islamic militants in Egypt.

In 1998 Mr el-Gannam offered to give evidence in support of the al-Shaab newspaper, which had been sued for libel by Hassan al-Alfi, Egypt’s former interior minister, whom the newspaper had accused of corruption.

As ministerial legal adviser, Mr el-Gannam says he had information which would have undermined Mr al-Alfi’s case. But he was pressed not to give evidence, and al-Shaab’s editor, Magdi Hussein, received a prison sentence.

His allegations of police corruption had already led to him being singled out among police officers, culminating in his forced early retirement in March 1999 and the subsequent travel ban.


© Financial Times