In News & Reports
On November 14, the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) released a report detailing how Egyptian airports have been turned into “a trap for critics and opponents,” effectively breaching Egyptians’ constitutional right to freedom of movement.

The organization identified some of the types of arbitrary “traps” that human rights advocates, researchers, and journalists—both Egyptian and foreign—face at Egyptian airports on a regular basis: being prevented from leaving the country, being prevented from entering it, or being detained for hours while attempting to enter or leave.

In the most heinous cases, activists are arrested and sometimes forcibly disappeared. Among the many instances documented, the report cites the cases of lawyer Ibrahim Metwally, who was forcibly disappeared while on his way to a session of the UN Working Group on Enforced Disappearances, as well as those of researchers Ahmed Samir Santawy and Patrick George Zaki, both of whom were detained while visiting their home country from abroad. 

Many travellers arrive at the airport only to find out that their names have been added to one of the state’s multiple travel ban lists. They are then stopped and questioned for hours without ever learning the reason or legal basis behind the ban.

ANHRI demanded that such individuals be given “the opportunity to challenge travel ban decisions in a fair judicial manner.” The case of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance’s founder, Azza Soliman, who was exonerated from Case 173/2011 in August but has yet to succeed in having the associated travel ban against her lifted, demonstrates the difficulties involved.
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