Egypt's president apologises for detention of Galloway at airport

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George Galloway has received a personal apology from the President of Egypt after being held for more than 12 hours by immigration officers at Cairo airport. The MP was detained by officials who said he was on a list of people prohibited from entering the country "for political reasons".

Mr Galloway was denied food and water and prevented from attending the anti-war event he had travelled to Egypt for on Friday.

According to his Respect coalition, he was only released when the event, which included a mock trial of Tony Blair and George Bush, had finished.

A spokesman said that the MP had been held in a cell with several other people and had been forced to sleep on a metal chair.

Yesterday, Mr Galloway was visited in Cairo yesterday by Mustafa el-Feki, an Egyptian MP and chairman of the foreign relations committee, who conveyed the personal apologies of President Hosni Mubarak.

Mr Galloway said: "The president apologised on behalf of the Egyptian people.

"He said that I was a freedom fighter and friend of the Arabs. It was a most gracious apology which I accept wholeheartedly. I consider the matter now closed."

Mr Galloway has been a critic of President Mubarak, who he accuses of being anti-democratic and of supporting Mr Blair and Mr Bush over the invasion of Iraq.

Following his ordeal, his supporters accused Egypt of being an "undemocratic police state" and of using subterfuge to prevent him from attending the rally.