Panama Criticized for Barring U.S. Reporter

Associated Press

The State Department criticized the Panamanian government Monday for refusing admission to Washington Post reporter Julia Preston.

Spokeswoman Phyllis Oakley said that the Administration was told that Preston, who has made frequent reporting trips to Panama, was denied entry on a claim that she lacked proper documentation.

"We consider this action unwarranted," Oakley said.

Preston was held incommunicado on arrival Sunday at Panama City airport before being placed on a plane to Miami. The plane turned back after developing mechanical problems, and Preston left for Miami on another flight Monday morning. The U.S. Embassy in Panama said that Preston was not mistreated.

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