US citizen deported from Egypt

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
An American working in Egypt was held over night at Cairo International Airport and then deported from the country without being given any reason, he told the Associated Press Thursday.

the ancient Dahshur Pyramid is silhouetted in Dahshur, Egypt, Monday, March 16, 2009. Travellers to Egypt will soon be able to explore the inner chambers of the 4,500-year-old "bent" pyramid, known for its oddly shaped profile, while the inner chambers of the Red pyramid, pictured, also built by 4th dynasty founder Pharaoh Sneferu, are already accessible to visitors.(AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Cairo (AP) — An American working in Egypt was held over night at Cairo International Airport and then deported from the country without being given any reason, he told the Associated Press Thursday.

On Tuesday night, Travis Randall of Denver was returning to Cairo where he'd been living for the last two-and-a-half years when was stopped by officials at passport control after being told his name was on a list.

He was put in a holding cell for 12 hours before being escorted in the morning by a uniformed guard onto the next flight to London.

"It's pretty weird to be deported and no one give you a reason," Randall, 27, told the Associated Press from London. "I'm basically going to stay in London and figure out what happened, figure out if they (Egyptian authorities) could tell me why."

A security official at the airport said he was not familiar with the case but people involved in political activities related to the Palestinians are often denied entry.

He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Randall is working in Egypt as a freelance writer, an environmental consultant and a contributor to an English-language lifestyle magazine.

He said the only time he had any problem with the authorities was when he was briefly detained after participating in a small march in February calling for the end of Egypt and Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip.

A German-Egyptian activist, Philip Rizk, who participated in the same demonstration was held for four days in solitary confinement, apparently due to the government sensitivity over any criticism of its Palestinian policy.

Police have detained hundreds of members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood and a number of bloggers following their criticism of Egypt's involvement in the closure of the Gaza Strip.

Randall said the officers at the airport could shed no light on why he was being detained and only said his name was on a list. His laptop and phone were taken from him during his incarceration and only returned upon his departure.

The U.S. embassy in Cairo said it was aware of the case but had to respect the right of sovereign countries to deny entry to foreign citizens.

In February 2004, American journalist Charles Levinson was also refused entry to Egypt after working there for years.

He was initially described by authorities as a threat to national security until three weeks later the Egyptian ambassador to the United States said it was all a misunderstanding and he was allowed to return.

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