Yemen's Nobel Peace Prize winner, Tawakul Karman, was turned away at Cairo's airport Sunday when she arrived with the intention of joining protests against the military coup that toppled President Mohamed Morsi.
According to various news accounts, Karman was sent back to the United Arab Emirates, where her flight to Egypt had originated. The Associated Press said the move by Egyptian authorities "underlined the government's resolve in dealing with the protests — now in their second month."
The BBC said that while Egyptian security officials did not say why Karman was denied entry to the country, "Mena state news agency referred to her 'solidarity' with supporters of the deposed Egyptian president."
Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president, was ousted by the military on July 3 after massive demonstrations led by secular-leaning Egyptians. Morsi, an Islamist affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood movement, has been held in detention ever since, and his supporters have been holding a sit-in at a Cairo mosque.
After arriving at the Cairo airport Sunday, Karman tweeted about her treatment:
The Dubai-based Gulf News said Karman "has repeatedly lashed out at Egypt’s military and expressed solidarity with Mursi’s supporters who have been protesting since his overthrow on July 3."
The first Arab woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, Karman played a key role in the "Arab Spring" uprising in Yemen that led to the overthrow of the government of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. The Nobel committee honored her that year, along with Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Leymah Gbowee of Liberia, "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women’s rights to full participation in peace-building work."
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