British Student to Go on Trial for Spying After Taking Picture With His Phone From Plane

British Student to Go on Trial for Spying After Taking Picture With His Phone From Plane

A British student will be put on trial in Egypt for spying after he took an image with his phone from a plane he was flying on.

19-year-old Muhammed Fathi Abulkasem was detained when he arrived at Alexandria airport on November 21. He was on a trip with a friend and had taken an image of the airport with his phone as his plane arrived, but because there was a military helicopter at the airport that appeared in his shot, he was charged with “collecting information of a military facility” and is now being held in an Egyptian jail. Abulkasem's cousin, Shareen Nawaz, said that the hotel booking made by his cousin and friend was flagged as suspicious and authorities were waiting for the pair when they arrived at the airport. It's unclear why the hotel flagged the booking.

According to Nawaz, Abulkasem can now be possibly tried in a military trial. Such trials are held in secret. Meanwhile, his family has begun petitioning British authorities and politicians to call for his release. Abulkasem is originally from Britain, but moved to Libya to take care of his grandmother while completing college studies remotely. The trip was meant to be a week-long getaway with his friend. Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office has said they are working on assisting Abulkasem's family.

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Jeff McCollough's picture

Another country added to the list of places never to visit.

Simon Patterson's picture

I'm tipping your hotel never got so suspicious of your booking that the cops were waiting to pounce on you when you arrived, though.

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

WFT is wrong with some people in power? This is ridiculous!

user-156929's picture

That's how people in some countries get into power. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Patrick Rosenbalm's picture

I know and it's very sad. Uncivilized. When will humankind get passed behaviour like that??

user-156929's picture

Without God...never!

Jordan McChesney's picture

Egypt: come for the pyramids, stay because we’ve arrested you for some reason.

I’m all for respecting laws and culture, but this is a little too extreme for me.

Daniel Haußmann's picture

Ridiculous. I wonder whether there are more than 20 pixels of that helicopter in the shot. In any case there should be absolutely nothing that would even remotely threaten the security of the country visible on the picture.

Elan Govan's picture

Amazing isn't it, as I understand, Israelis can cross into Egypt for 14 days without a visa and one British student get arrested for using his mobile phone.

A friend of mine just left for Egypt to complete her studies. She said Alexandria is a very nice place.

Igal Pronin's picture

Israelis can visit only Sinai Peninsula without a visa.
What's so amazing about it?

Elan Govan's picture

Travelling without getting arrested for spying and reading about it here. Ought to be simple enough for most photographers to understand

Simon Patterson's picture

"The hotel booking made by his cousin and friend was flagged as suspicious". Looks like there's a lot more to this story than a simple case of someone snapping a quick phone pic out the window as the plane arrives.

I just visited Alexandria taking photos and I'm pretty sure the problem was not taking a photo but coming from Libya. And for sure the hotel already had knowledge of his photo? I guess some people are believing everything they are told here.

Simon Patterson's picture

Exactly. All we have is his mother's word that he didn't do nuffink, he's a good boy. Strange how that suffices for so many people, who obviously believe only what they want to believe.

Ed Sanford's picture

...and I think about all the people who complain about the good old USA. Freedom, unfortunately, is not a worldwide phenomena. Every time l leave the country, I say a little prayer of thanks when I return.

Simon Patterson's picture

No doubt this guy was thanking God for his "freedom" flying in the USA, too. Every country has its issues, no matter what word you label it with.

Ed Sanford's picture

Sorry... that was a different circumstance. The airline removed him. While nasty, his freedom wasn’t taken away. Too many times, foreign governments detain individuals for no apparent reason. Think about hikers who cross the wrong border, or students going to North Korea. Think pastors in other countries. The first thing that happens is their freedom is taken away. This virtually does occur in the U.S. The worse case is you are deported. We have foreign nationals here who commit crimes and in many cases shielded from immigration officials. I value my freedom above all my possessions. When that is taken, I have nothing.

Simon Patterson's picture

Sorry, I think you've swallowed too much of the kool aid. When you've got to the stage that practically any outcome is acceptable because you can still label it "freedom", you're a sucker for anything.

Ed Sanford's picture

Sorry I am not a sucker for anything. My ancestors came here on slave ships and we endured that and Jim Crow. In my 70 years, i’ve seen it all and done it all. I never said that the country is perfect, but we are free. I know the difference between a dispute between private individuals as opposed to a government holding you for no good reason. And, you are free to buy any misguided notions that you have to fuel your hate.

Simon Patterson's picture

Ah yes, the idea that "anyone who sees through our 'we are free' narrative must hate us". Another insidious effect of the kool aid. Shame.

Edward Blake's picture

The biggest trick they ever pulled was convincing you that you are free.

user-146450's picture

Sounds as though there is a lot more to this story but i have to admit there seems a decreasing smaller list of historical sites u can safely visit.

Nick Viton's picture

If you don't want your helicopter seen, then hide your helicopter.

Duane Klipping's picture

Yep third world backwards people stike again. Really spy sats are everywhere and they are going after this kid. It is not one world...

Thanks for a cool photo. I hope that new material will be published on the site. You can find more photo with a student on site . Leave feedback and write your proposition.