Respect MP George Galloway has been refused entry to Egypt on the grounds of “state security”.
Galloway, a fierce critic of Middle Eastern dictatorships, was invited by the Union of Arab Lawyers to give testimony on war crimes in Iraq and Palestine.
The Respect MP has made many visits to Egypt, including trips to address the Cairo Conferences that have brought together anti-war and anti-globalisation activist from around the world.
Galloway was held over night in a cell at the airport after he was informed that he was on a 'blacklist'.
Egypt, run by pro-Western dictator Hosni Mubarak, is held up by the US and Britain as a model for “democratic change” in the region.
The arrest and deportation of Galloway makes a lie of US claims to be backing free speech in the Middle East.
During recent parliamentary elections opposition parties and democracy activists were targeted by Mubarak’s security police.
Scores of activists from the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested and polling stations were closed when it appeared that the opposition party would win the elections.
In January Egyptian police killed at least 27 Sudanese refugees, including 12 children, when they stormed a protest camp outside the UN offices in the capital, Cairo.
Last June state security thugs attacked and molested women protesters who were calling for a boycott of the presidential referendum. None of the attackers were charged despite their crimes being filmed by the world’s press.
On a recent visit, Laura Bush, wife of US president, praised Mubarak as a “bold and wise” leader who was “taking the first step” towards democracy.
Mubarak maintains his rule in Egypt under emergency laws put in place in 1982 and his regime has been repeatedly criticised for human rights abuses.
'George Galloway has been an outspoken critic of the President Hosni Mubarak's dictatorship in Egypt and of other pro-western governments in the Middle East,” Respect said in a statement.
“The Respect Party deplores the decision of the Mubarak Government to bar entry to a British MP visiting Egypt purely for the purposes of promoting the cause of peace.”