A British adventurer was questioned as a potential spy after entering Egyptian territory without permission.Jason Lewis, 38, from Bridport, Dorset, said he was detained as he kayaked on Lake Nasser as part of his bid to travel around the world by human power.
He had been waiting for weeks in Sudan to cross into Egypt to continue his odyssey, which began in 1994 in London.
Mr Lewis said he crossed the border, although he did not yet have permission to, after his Sudanese visa ran out.
The traveller said that meant he was in Sudan illegally, which left him in an “impossible position” so he had to “give it a go regardless”.
He decided to kayak to Abu Simbel, southern Egypt, through a militarised buffer zone with “the authorities on either side of the fence being none the wiser as to what I was really up to”.
But the crossing ended when he “was apprehended and overpowered by local fishermen who turned [him] in.”
He was taken to a military detention centre and interrogated by army intelligence.
Mr Lewis said he faced espionage charges, which could lead to 40 years in a military jail.
“During the ensuing interrogations, I was asked to explain all the satellite communications equipment I was carrying, cameras, GPS,” he said.
“They did not buy my story of being on an expedition.
“Things started looking very bad indeed. I was seriously considering the prospect of spending the rest of my life in an Egyptian prison.
“Then, at the 11th hour, the unbelievable happened. My permission authorisation finally came through from Cairo.”
Lewis has spent 13 years travelling 37,000 miles using his 15-year-old bike, a pedal boat, rollerblades, kayaks, and swimming and walking.