The name of Egypt’s newly elected president, Mohammed Mursi, is still on the travel ban lists in all Egyptian airports and harbors as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Despite winning Egypt’s first presidential elections after the January 25 Revolution, Mursi’s name was not removed from the lists of people banned from leaving the country. The president will need to file a lawsuit to have his name removed from the travel ban lists.
However, the fact that he is still officially banned from traveling is not expected to hinder Mursi from making international trips as the country’s new president.
But the issue is likely to stir much sarcasm abroad not only because he is the first president to assume office while banned from traveling, but on how immersed Egypt still is in matters of bureaucracy.
Travel bans constituted one of several ways the former regime used to put pressure on Islamists, and particularly the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, reported the Egyptian newspaper al-Mesreyoon.
According to the Egyptian Passports Authority, the total number of Egyptians whose names are placed on travel ban or on watch lists had reached 21,000 in March 2012.
A large number of Muslim Brotherhood members were on the travel ban lists, the most famous of whom was the group’s Supreme Guide, Mohammed Badei, who was not allowed to leave the country since he was a member of the Guidance Bureau.
In 2008, Badei was prevented from traveling to Saudi Arabia to perform the Lesser Pilgrimage (Umrah).
The same happened to Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide, Mahdi Akef, when he was prevented from performing both the Lesser and Greater (Hajj) pilgrimage as the head of an “outlawed group.”
Deputy Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political wing, Essam al-Erian was stopped at the airport several times during the past few years.
Several Muslim Brotherhood members filed lawsuits to lift the ban and the rulings came in their favor, yet the Ministry of Interior had their names placed on the lists again whenever they were removed.
In addition to travel bans, Mulsim Brotherhood members were put in jail several times, including President Mohammed Mursi who was detained in 2006 then put under house arrest. He was arrested again on January 28, 2011, also known as the Friday of Anger, during the January 25 Revolution.