CAIRO: Egyptian authorities arrested a 19-year-old British tourist over a video he filmed on his cellphone that showed a military helicopter in the background, his family said on Friday.
Libyan-British Muhammed Fathi AbulKasem’s arrest took place shortly after he arrived in Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria on Nov. 21 from neighboring Libya, his cousin Shareen Nawaz said. Egypt’s Foreign Ministry couldn’t immediately be reached for comment. The UK’s Foreign Office confirmed the arrest of a Briton in Alexandria, but didn’t elaborate.
“We didn’t hear from him until 12 hours later,” Nawaz said. “He basically told us he is held on suspicion of collecting information against the military.” He filmed the video while his flight was landing, capturing a military helicopter flying by, she added.
Speaking from Manchester in the UK, Nawaz told The Associated Press that authorities checked her cousin’s phone at the airport after being cautioned by his hotel’s staff that his booking appeared “suspicious,” without elaborating.
According to Nawaz, Abulkasem faced a court three times over the past week and that a lawyer was assigned to his case but later quit. His mother, Amaal Rafiq, confirmed his arrest in a Facebook post.
Taking unauthorized photographs or footage of or near military facilities, equipment or personnel is strictly prohibited in Egypt.
“We all have one of those landing videos on our phones,” Nawaz said. “They shouldn’t have military helicopters in public spaces if this is what will happen.”