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New York Times reporter detained at Cairo Airport and denied entry to Egypt

The barring of NYT correspondent David Kirkpatrick from entering the country is the latest in a series of practices hostile towards freedom of the press.

Egyptian special forces soldiers await the arrival of a diplomatic plane at the airport in Cairo, 11 December 2017
Egyptian special forces soldiers await the arrival of a diplomatic plane at the airport in Cairo, 11 December 2017

Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

This is an edited version of a statement that was originally published on anhri.info on 20 February 2019.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) said today that the detention of New York Times correspondent David Kirkpatrick and his barring from the country is the latest in a series of police practices entrenched in a hostility towards freedom of the press, and is increasingly proving itself to be in opposition to the rule of law and democracy.

David Kirkpatrick, a reporter with the American New York Times newspaper, arrived at Cairo International Airport on Monday, 18 February 2019. He was detained for several hours before he was expelled and sent back on a flight to London. Given that he is not involved in a case nor is he facing any charges, this constitutes new evidence that the Cairo airport is being turned into a police trap, either to ban Egyptian critics from traveling outside the country or to ban foreign critics from entering it.

Kirkpatrick being denied entry brings to mind the many activists and human rights defenders who were also banned from entering the country such as Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, the Egyptian-German activist Atef Botros, Tunisian writer Amal al-Qarami, and many others. At the same time, the door is widely open for supporters of tyranny, including those fleeing international justice, such as Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir and others.

It's worth mentioning that Kirkpatrick, 48, was the Cairo bureau chief for the New York Times from 2011 to 2015 and is the author of a recent book on Egypt, Into the Hands of the Soldiers.

ANHRI said: "We have come to expect any sort of violation by these authorities, and we believe that the detention and deportation of journalist David Kirkpatrick came against the backdrop of publishing his recent book about Egypt, not to mention the Egyptian government's hostility towards the well-known American newspaper that publishes views critical of the police measures carried out by the Egyptian authorities."

ANHRI added: "The policy of repression, cover ups and the siege of freedom of expression didn't - and will not - create a free country. We have not heard of democracy or freedoms that have ravaged a country; countries are rather ravaged by tyranny, repression and the curbing of freedoms."

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