10:40 GMT26 November 2020
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    The young man's family says that the ill-fated tourist came to Egypt to see old friends, but he hardly expected to be thrown in jail mere hours after his arrival. Security officials responded to a report from a hotel where he had planned to stay, which flagged his booking as 'suspicious'.

    Muhammed Abulkasem, a 19-year-old student with UK citizenship, faces trial in Egypt for spying on the local military.

    Muhammed, who hails from Cheetham Hill in Manchester, is said to have lived in the Arab republic for more than four years with his family in the past. His family says that he was travelling from Libya to visit old friends.

    Muhammed Abulkasem
    Muhammed Abulkasem

    The boy landed at the airport in the northern coastal city of Alexandria on November 21. He filmed a cellphone video of the airport from the plane that featured a military helicopter flying by, which Egyptian security found while searching his phone.

    An AH-64D Apache attack helicopter flies in front of a wall of fire during the South Carolina National Guard Air and Ground Expo at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina, U.S. on May 6, 2017
    © REUTERS / Jorge Intriago/Courtesy Air National Guard

    According to his cousin, aid worker Shareen Nawaz, Muhammed was travelling with a friend, and the pair booked a hotel room in Alexandria. Hotel staff reported that his booking appeared 'suspicious' without clarification, prompting security workers to question him and examine his belongings.

    Muhammed was arrested and now faces charges of collecting intelligence on the Egyptian army. His family has launched an online petition, pushing the officials to release the student and allow him to return home.

    A spokesperson for the UK Foreign Office said that London has requested information on the matter from Egyptian officials and is seeking permission for consular access to the student.


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    spying, arrest, Muhammed Abulkasem, Manchester, Egypt
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