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Danish NGO official deported from Egypt over 'suspicious training'

The Danish Institute for Human Rights does not have an office in Egypt, but works closely with NGOs in the country

Ahram Online , Tuesday 28 Oct 2014
Cairo Interntaional Airport (Photo: Reuters)

Egyptian airport authorities have barred a Danish Institute for Human Rights official from entering the country over "suspicious training” for Egyptian youth.

Ashraf Mikhael, project director at the institute, arrived in Cairo on a flight from Amsterdam. After his data was examined by security officials he was deported to Turkey, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported  

Mikhael, a Danish citizen of Egyptian origin, was said to be involved in conducting "suspicious" training sessions for Egyptian young people.

The institute, which works across several countries, does not have an office in Egypt. However, it says on its official website that it has worked closely with NGOs in the country since 2011, including the Egyptian Democratic Association (EDA), and it helped establish the Egyptian Network for Public Participation (ENPP).

It is yet to release a statement on the deportation.

NGOs in Egypt have faced heavy security surveillance and pressure by authorities for decades. Many have been scrutinised and accused of spying following the 2011 uprising.

Foreign Ministry aide Mohamed Farid Moneeb said at a meeting on Sunday that authorities have detected direct funding from embassies to registered and non-registered NGOs in Egypt. He said this violates the Vienna conventions on diplomatic relations, adding that Egypt would confront this firmly.

NGOs are currently on alert after the government announced in July that they would have to officially register under Law 84 of 2002. Critics say the law hampered rights organisations' mobility and freedom under the regime of Hosni Mubarak.

On 15 October, the Carter Center announced the closure of its offices in the country, saying the law would put harsh restrictions on NGO activities and resources. It added that Egypt was "unlikely to advance a genuine democratic transition."


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