Thursday, 6 March 2014

Egypt bars Gaza-bound Irish Nobel Peace Laureate Maguire

CAIRO (AFP) -- Egypt detained and deported Northern Irish Nobel Laureate and peace activist Mairead Maguire on Wednesday and held up others who had been planning to go to neighboring Gaza, the activists and officials said.

Maguire had intended to join a delegation of women activists going to the blockaded Palestinian enclave on Thursday.

The group could embarrass the military-installed government, which is at odds with Gaza's Hamas rulers, yet does not want to be seen as party to a siege of Palestinians, blockaded by Israel.

On Tuesday, airport police had already detained and deported American anti-war activist Medea Benjamin, also part of the delegation, who told AFP police broke her arm.

Maguire said she arrived at Cairo airport on Tuesday night with fellow activist Ann Patterson.

"We were taken to the detention center and questioned and held for eight hours, and were told we would not be allowed entry into Cairo and would be put on a plane," she told AFP by telephone from Britain after her expulsion.

She said police were polite but gave no reason for barring her, while an airport official told AFP she had been blacklisted. more


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