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Egypt deports HRW officials ahead of Rabaa report release

Human Rights Watch heads barred entry from Egypt, ahead of release of damning report into 2013 Rabaa Massacre
A volunteer clears the area after the 2013 Rabaa Massacre of Muslim Brotherhood supporters (AFP)

Top officials from Human Rights Watch were denied entry to Egypt this morning, as they attempted to enter the country to launch a report about the 2013 Rabaa Massacre that killed 638 people.

Kenneth Roth and Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director and MENA region director respectively, said they were detained at Cairo airport for 12 hours before being deported for “security reasons.”


The two had been due to launch their report, All According to Plan: The Rabaa Massacre and Mass Killings of Protesters in Egypt, which documents the six pro-Muslim Brotherhood demonstrations in 2013, during which at least 1,150 people died.

Commenting on the deportation, Roth said “We came to Egypt to release a serious report on a serious subject that deserves serious attention from the Egyptian government. Instead of denying the messenger entry to Egypt, the Egyptian authorities should seriously consider our conclusions and recommendations and respond with constructive action.”

No statement has appeared from the Egyptian authorities concerning the detention and denial of entry to the human rights officials.

Human Rights Watch closed its Cairo office in February 2014 due to concerns about what it called “the deteriorating security and political environment in the country.”

However, this marks the first time that representatives from the organisation have actively been denied entry.

Under former President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, Whitson said Human Rights Watch had an “open door policy” in Egypt, and were never barred from entry.

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