Ex-minister of Health, Hatem Al-Gabaly, was reported to have boarded a plane for Saudi Arabia Monday night, despite a travel ban imposed on him by the public prosecutor.
Media organisations reported that Al-Gabaly arrived at Cairo airport Monday night, intent on boarding a plane to Jeddah when he was stopped by airport security who told him his name was on a travel ban list, following a decision of the public prosecutor.
Nevertheless, Al-Gabaly submitted a written approval from the communication officer at the passports administration, granting him one-off permission to travel. Accordingly, Al-Gabaly was allowed to board his flight.
“It is a correct process,” according to Brigadier-General Ayman Helmy, from the Ministry of Interior Affairs. “But only if the person in question gets permission to travel from the public prosecution, its representative or the body that has instilled the travel ban.”
The procedure was also confirmed by Amir Salem, a rights lawyer among those representing revolutionary victims during Mubarak’s trial and Mohamed Zare’, lawyer and head of the Penal Reform organisation, though Zare’ had doubts whether the correct procedure was followed in the case in question.
“It is not enough for Al-Gabaly to submit permission from the communication officer at the passports administration if that permission wasn’t preceded by another one from the public prosecutor.” Zare’ said. “Nobody in the Ministry of Interior or the passports administration has the right to issue such permission without it being first approved by the public prosecutor. Really, there’s no such thing as being granted permission to travel just for one time; the travel ban either gets lifted or it doesn’t.”
The Daily News Egypt could not independently verify whether Al-Gabaly was granted permission for one-off travel from the public prosecutor.
The last Minister of Health in Mubarak’s regime, Al-Gabaly was referred by the public prosecutor to the East-Cairo prosecution after a report was filed to the public prosecutor by Nasser Al-Asqalani, a lawyer representing revolutionary victims during Mubarak’s trial. The report accused Al-Gabaly of abusing his position as minister by profiteering and taking public money. The travel ban was issued in light of these accusations.