Egypt imposes travel ban on Mubarak, family

Iran reportedly detains two opposition leaders; protesters in Oman, Yemen, Bahrain stand firm.

By OREN KESSLER, REUTERS
February 28, 2011 14:12
4 minute read.
Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak 311 Reu. (photo credit: Reuters TV / Reuters)

Egypt imposed a travel ban Monday on former president Hosni Mubarak and his family while complaints about their wealth are being investigated.

The public prosecutor issued an order freezing the money and assets of Mubarak and his family, following claims that they had acquired wealth through illegal means, a spokesman for the prosecutor said.

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A Cairo criminal court is set to look into the case on March 5, the state news agency MENA said. The travel ban follows the prosecutor’s February 21 decision to ask foreign governments to freeze the overseas assets of Mubarak, who handed power to the army on February 11 and headed to the Red Sea resort of Sharm e- Sheikh with his family.

Meanwhile Monday, Iranian authorities reportedly arrested two leading opposition figures, while protesters in Oman, Yemen and Bahrain continued to rally to demand political reforms.

Authorities in Iran detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi, the opposition website Kaleme said on Monday.

“Sources say they have been arrested and transferred to Heshmatiyeh jail in Tehran,” Mousavi’s website Kaleme reported.

Judiciary officials were not immediately available for comment.

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, an advocacy group that has staff in the United States and Germany, said on Sunday that the two leaders had been moved secretly from their homes, where they had been under virtual house arrest for calling on supporters to protest against the government.

Mousavi and Karoubi had been forced to stay in their homes in the capital for more than two weeks. Mousavi’s daughters said on Kaleme that they had been prevented from approaching the house since February 14.

In Oman on Monday, demonstrators blocked roads to a main port in the North of the country and looted a nearby supermarket as part of protests demanding more jobs and political reform, that have spread to the sultanate’s capital.

A doctor said six people had been killed in clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police on Sunday in the northern industrial town of Sohar. Oman’s health minister said only one person had been killed and 20 wounded.

Hundreds of protesters blocked access to an industrial area that includes the port, a refinery and an aluminum factory. A port spokeswoman said exports of refined oil products that typically amount to 160,000 barrels per day from the port were unaffected.

“We want to see the benefit of our oil wealth distributed evenly to the population,” one protester yelled over a megaphone near the port.

“We want to see a scale-down of expatriates in Oman so more jobs can be created for Omanis.”

Peaceful protests also spread to other cities, with hundreds of people demonstrating outside a government ministerial complex in Muscat and at another site in the capital.

Meanwhile, Yemen’s opposition rejected the president’s offer of a unity government on Monday, saying it would stand with the tens of thousands of protesters demanding an end to his 32-year rule.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a US ally against al-Qaida’s Yemen-based wing, has been struggling to quell daily protests that have swept across the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state, leaving 24 people dead in the past two weeks.

On Monday, demonstrators gathered across the country, from the capital Sanaa to disparate regions where separatists or Shi’ite rebels hold sway, chanting slogans such as “No dialogue, no dialogue.

You leaving is the only option.” Violence increased against security forces in the South; local officials said gunmen killed two soldiers in successive attacks, and a prison riot killed one inmate and wounded two guards as four prisoners escaped.

In Bahrain, anti-government protesters blockaded the parliament and massed outside the state broadcaster in efforts to escalate pressure on the nation’s embattled monarchy after two weeks of nonstop marches and deadly clashes, The Associated Press reported.

The demonstrations appear to be part of a strategy to hold rallies at sensitive locations in the capital Manama while maintaining a round-theclock protest base in a landmark square in the tiny Gulf kingdom.

The parliament was targeted to coincide with a meeting called by the 40-member upper chamber, which is appointed by Bahrain’s ruler.

The session was delayed by several hours when protesters formed a human chain around the entrance.

From parliament, the marchers moved on to the state TV headquarters, chanting slogans claiming that the reports on the unrest sought to widen rifts between the Shi’ite-led protesters and the Sunni dynasty that has ruled Bahrain for more than two centuries.

Click for full Jpost coverage of turmoil in the Middle East


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