Egypt drops travel ban on columnist who slammed Morsi ouster
Fahmy Howeidy - YOUM7/Amr Diab

CAIRO: Egypt allowed a prominent columnist, who strongly criticized the army ouster of president Mohamed Morsi, to travel abroad Friday, airport officials said, just weeks after blocking him from leaving.

The name of Fahmy Howeidy was not on any stop list at Cairo airport, and the columnist for the independent Al-Shorouq newspaper was allowed to fly to Casablanca, the officials said.

Three weeks ago, he was blocked from flying to Spain, without any reason being given.

Howeidy, who previously worked for state-run Al-Ahram newspaper, is widely across the Arab world and was strongly critical of the ouster of Islamist Morsi last July.

International rights group have raised fears that freedoms could be eroded in Egypt under the presidency of Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who overwhelmingly won last month’s election.

Sisi has indicated his priority will be “national security” and fighting “terrorism” rather than encouraging freedoms as aspired in the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime president Hosni Mubarak.

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