Egypt Denies Entry to Nobel Peace Winner Tawakul Karman*
By Rizwan Khatik
Yemen’s Nobel Peace Prize Tawakul Karman has been denied entry into Egypt after she landed at Cairo airport “for security reasons”, officials say.
Ms Karman, the first Arab woman to win the prestigious prize, was reportedly held on arrival and ordered to fly on the same plane back to the Gulf.
She has voiced support to Muslim Brotherhood followers, calling Mohammed Mursi’s ousting “undemocratic”.
A prominent human rights activist, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2011.
On her Twitter account Karman had published that she would be coming to Egypt and going on a solidarity visit to the pro-Mursi large five-week sit-in at Rabaa Al-Adawiya Square in northeast Cairo pressing for Mursi’s reinstatement.
While Egyptian security sources did not give a reason for Ms Karman’s ban, Mena state news agency referred to her “solidarity” with supporters of the deposed Egyptian president.
Karman added that after the coup, Egypt has begun restricting rights and freedoms, with the pro-coup voices being the only ones currently heard. She said that thousands of anti-coup voices have been killed or imprisoned. She noted that she had headed to Egypt in order to bear witness to this injustice.
The Yemeni activist said that she considers herself responsible for unveiling the injustice that takes place in Egypt and the world, stressing that it is important that Egyptians preserve the achievements of the January 25 revolution.
She expressed regret that she was denied entry into Egypt, adding that this had happened because she defends and speaks about the achievements of the Arab Spring everywhere.
She refuted the criticisms directed at her over her closeness to the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that she defends human rights everywhere and in all places where rights are being violated, including Egypt.
She noted that she had criticized some of the Muslim Brotherhood’s policies from time to time.
Karman also pointed out that the current government in Egypt closed all the TV stations that opposed the military coup and that many of the anti-coup activists were arrested or killed in front of the world.
She expressed worries about Egypt’s future, saying that the military rule will be ousted within months, if not weeks.