CAIRO: Prominent columnist Fahmy Howeidy, who strongly criticised the army's ouster of Egypt's elected Islamist president, was barred from leaving the country on Friday, officials at Cairo airport said.
Howeidy's name was on a stop list at Cairo airport, preventing him from boarding a flight to Spain, they said.
A writer for Al-Shorouk independent newspaper whose articles are read widely across the Arab world, Howeidy criticised last July's ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.
The army ousted Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president, after millions took to the streets demanding his resignation following just one year in office.
Howeidy previously worked for state-run Al-Ahram newspaper.
International rights group have raised fears that freedoms could be eroded in Egypt if the presidential frontrunner, ex-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, wins next week's election.
Sisi is expected to trounce his rival, leftist Hamdeen Sabbahi, riding on a wave of popularity after ousting Morsi.
Sisi has indicated his priority will be "national security" and fighting "terrorism" rather than encouraging freedoms as aspired in the 2011 uprising that ousted longtime strongman Hosni Mubarak.