Egypt manhandles Code Pink activist, ejects her from country

Egypt manhandles Code Pink activist, ejects her from country

Anti-war activist Medea Benjamin charged Tuesday that she suffered a dislocated left arm and severe trauma after being detained on arrival in Egypt and then forced by security officials from a jail cell at the Cairo airport onto a Turkey-bound flight. …

Benjamin said she traveled to Cairo to begin a journey to Gaza, which shares a border with Egypt, for an international women’s day event. She never left the airport, where she was detained shortly after stepping off her flight at 8:30 p.m. local time Monday.

After hours spent in the cell, “five very scary-looking men came for me,” she said. Through contacts with friends in the United States and Egypt she had learned that American diplomats were just 10 minutes away, so she resisted going with the men, who removed her by force, she told Yahoo News.

They grabbed her, threw her to the floor, and put two sets of handcuffs on her, she recounted. In the scuffle, “I heard the ‘pop’ of my shoulder, and I started screaming. They wouldn’t stop.” …

The men dragged her to a Turkish Airlines flight bound for Istanbul. The airline initially argued that she was in no shape for a flight. An Egyptian doctor agreed, but in the end she boarded the plane and ended up in a middle seat with an Egyptian security officer on either side. “I was between two of the same guys who beat me up,” she said. …

A State Department official, who requested anonymity to discuss the situation, said in a statement that U.S. “consular officers in Egypt were in contact with the U.S. citizen and provided all appropriate consular assistance.”

“In regards to the allegations that the Cairo police broke her arm, we would refer you to the Egyptian police for further information,” the official said. “Questions regarding Ms. Benjamin’s deportation or Egyptian visa should be referred to the government of Egypt. Due to privacy considerations, we are unable to comment further.”

“That’s such a lie,” Benjamin upon hearing the statement. “They never made contact with me. Never, ever…They told my friends they were on the way over. They constantly lied. I was on the tarmac for an hour. They never showed up. That’s just a bald-faced lie.”

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