Photo: Photo tweeted by Nabeel Rajab while he was detained at Cairo Airport April 2011

20 December 2012

The Imprisoned human rights defender Nabeel Rajab has filed last month a law suit against the Egyptian Authorities after being banned from entering Egypt on 11th April 2012.

Nabeel Rajab who is now sentenced to 2 years in prison for peacefully protesting (1), was invited by the Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies and was intending to participate in a number of meetings and events to highlight the ongoing human rights violations happening in Bahrain. Those events and meetings were with arab and international human rights organizations among the participants are Margaret Sekaggya, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights Defenders, Maina Kiai, the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Assembly and Association, Reine Alapini-Gansou, the ACHPR Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa, and June Ray from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.(2)

After arriving Cairo International Airport on 11th April 2012 at 12:30 pm, an Airport Security Officer seized Rajab’s passport without providing valid reasons. The airport authorities then stated that Rajab would be deported in the next available flight to Bahrain. The Airport Authorities told the Cairo Center for Human Rights Studies that Nabeel Rajab’s name was in the ban list, without providing any further details.

Rajab’s attorney Ahmed Ragheb to lodge an appeal against each of the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and Interior Minister Ahmed Gamal Eddin, before the Administrative Court for illegally banning Nabeel Rajab from entering Egypt. (3)

The first session in Egypt was on 27th November 2012 and the Egyptian government attorney requested to postpone the session till they gather more information.

Photo : Maryam Al-Khawaja

In a similar scenario, Maryam Al-Khawaja, Acting President of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights was too banned from entering Egypt in August 2012 and was almost deported from Egypt on April 2012 and was allowed after spending 12 hours inside the Cairo International Airport.

It’s believed that the Bahraini Authorities are complicit with the Egyptian Authorities in banning Bahraini activists from entering Egypt and is aimed to cripple Human Rights Defenders from exposing the continuous violations in Bahrain.

References: 1. BBC: Bahrain activist Nabeel Rajab's prison sentence reduced – from 3 years to 2 years 2. CIHRS : “Authorities Detain Nabeel Rajab at the Cairo International Airport “ 3. Russia Today : محامو نبيل رجب يطعنون بقرار منعه من دخول مصر