By Ann Flower Seyse
Impunity Watch Reporter, Middle East
CAIRO, Egypt– On September 2, American citizen Travis Randall of Denver, Colorado was denied entry to Egypt after being told he was “on a list.” Randall was not given any reason for being denied entry, or for being detained, and he plans on remaining in London until he finds out the particular reason why Egypt denied his re-entry.
Randall, age 27, had been living and working in Cairo for the last two and a half years, working as an environmental consultant and a free lance writer. He was returning from a trip when he was detained for twelve hours in a holding cell, and forced to purchase a ticket to London, England, as he could not return to Egypt.
The only time that Randall has ever had any problems with the Egyptian authority, was after a small protest of the Egyptian and Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip in February. After the protest, Randall was briefly detained. The officials at the airport would not give Randall any reasons for his detention beyond Randall’s name being on a list. Randall’s laptop and cell phone were taken from him during his detention, and returned to him only upon is departure.
Egyptian police have detained hundreds of members of the Muslim brotherhood, and some Egyptian Bloggers because of their protests and writings against the blockade of the Gaza strip. One airport security officer who spoke anonymously theorized that Randall must be on the list for his own “activism” over Egyptian involvement in the blockade of the Gaza strip.
Randall does not consider himself an activist or a blogger, as his last post before his detention was from 2007. He has not participated in many protests, and does not want to be labeled an activist, as he does not believe that he fits the title.
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) commented on Randall’s detainment, stating that “[even] assuming that the authorities have the right to stop the blogger from entering Egypt even though he has not been accused of anything, they have absolutely no right to seize his laptop and prevent him from making phone calls. This is an intolerable abuse.”
For more information, please see:
BikyaMasr – Egyptian National Press Lies Over Travis Randall’s Deportation – 6 September 2009
LA Times – EGYPT: Authorities Detain and Deport American Blogger – 6 September 2009
AP- US Citizen Deported from Egypt – 4 September 2009
International Freedom of Expression Exchange – American Blogger detained at Cairo Airport, Barred from Entering Egypt – 3 September 2009