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Galloway refused entry to Egypt, detained

George Galloway was in the Middle East on invitation to take part in an event against the war in Iraq, his Respect party said.

india Updated: Feb 04, 2006 20:37 IST
Vijay Dutt
Vijay Dutt

The biggest critic of Tony Blair, George Galloway, who was elected MP from Bethnal Green, East London constituency primarily by Bangladeshi voters is apparently going through a bad patch.

He has been ridiculed for participating in the controversial Celebrity Big Brother House programme of Channel 4 and now has been barred from entering Egypt by security officials.

He had flown to the Middle East after being invited to take part in an event against the war in Iraq, his Respect party said. He was stopped and detained all night in a cell with several others, according to his spokesman.

Galloway, it is said, was detained "on grounds of national security" on arrival at Cairo airport. He had travelled to Egypt to give evidence at a "mock trial" of Tony Blair and US President George Bush, organised by the anti-war movement. It is one of several such events to have taken place recently, including in New York last week, Respect said.

Respect spokesman Ron McKay told the BBC they had last spoken to him on his mobile phone on Saturday morning. "We have been able to sporadically talk to him by telephone when he said that he was being held in what he described as a cell with several other people being refused entry.

"He had had nothing to eat or drink but he's somehow been able to get a flight back today having been told that he can't get into the country."

The Foreign Office said it had been in contact with Galloway. "We contacted him and he explained the situation, he's now booked on to a flight back to the UK."

His party explained that Galloway has been a critic of Mubarak "and of other pro-western governments in the Middle East... Mubarak of course enjoys very warm relations with George Bush and Tony Blair."

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 20:37 IST