Arab and Egyptian Human Rights Organizations condemn the prevention of Bahraini Human Rights Activist by Security Service from Entering Egypt

Cairo - 31 January 2007

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (HRinfo) and Arab Program for Human Rights Activists (APHRA) condemn the prevention of Mohamed Al-Maskati, human rights activist and Director of Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights (BYSHR) from entering Egypt today. The Cairo Airport Security Service held Al-Maskati in custody for more than 12 hours at the airport before he was deported back to Bahrain.

Al-Maskati (20 years-old) arrived at Cairo airport early this morning to participate in the seminar titled "The Role of Youth in Supporting Freedoms and Democracy" which is to be hold by BYSHR and APHRA today.

HRinfo and APHRA consider the prevention of Al-Maskati from entering Egypt a clear example on the cooperation between security bureaus of Arab ministries of interior, with the purpose to hinder and even punish Arab human rights activists who are well-known for their credibility and good reputation. Al-Maskati is one of the Bahraini activists who bravely disclosed the illegal involvement of the Bahraini government into Al-Bandar Gate. In addition, he recently participated in a peaceful rally before the Egyptian embassy in Bahrain in protest on the detention of Kareem Amer, the Egyptian blogger who is going to be tried in Alexandria tomorrow morning.

Al-Maskati was supposed to represent BYSHR in the seminar. This seminar is the first to be held by BYSHR and APHRA, and the first to discuss the duties and responsibilities entitled to Arab youth and the commitment of civil society and governments towards youth. The seminar also aimed at announcing the foundation of Takamol Network for Arab Youth which will be concerned by youth issues, in addition to explaining how youth can participate in activating the its role.

APHRA contacted some leaders from State Security Service to take their permission for Al-Maskati to enter Egypt; particularly that they previously approved the entry of the list of participants, including Al-Maskati, according to Ahmed Badawy from APHRA. Albeit as usual, Security Service withdrew its promises and decided to prevent Al-Maskati from entering Egypt and deported him back to Bahrain.

"The prevention of the young activist Mohamed Al-Maskati from entering Egypt came in parallel with the meeting of Arab Ministers of Interior held in Tunisia yesterday and today, titled "developing the coordination to fight terrorism", which is the permanent title of their meetings. It is clear that their failure in fighting terrorism is replaced by their tendency to fight human rights activists," HRinfo Executive Director, Gamal Eid said.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information and Arab Program for Human Rights Activists while condemning the police practices, call upon the Egyptian and international civil society to eliminate the series of violations and harassments practiced against Arab human rights activists by governmental bureaus, particularly security service.

Arabic Network for Human Rights Information Arab Program for Human Rights Activists Social Democratic Forum in Yemen Yemen Youth Development Center Freedom of Thought and Expression Foundation Al-Nadim Center for Psychological Treatment and Rehabilitation for the Victims of Violence Yemen Youth Shura Council Sisters' Arabic Forum Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights Takamol Network for Arab Youth Hisham Mubarak Law Center Egyptian Association against Torture