Yemeni pro-democracy leader barred from Egypt

OK, here’s one to file under “all too telling irony.” Egyptian authorities have banned Yemeni rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Tawakkol Karman from entering the country for “security reasons.” Karman was held at Cairo airport on arrival and sent back to Yemen. The first Arab woman to win the Nobel peace prize had voiced support for loyalists of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and protested his ouster by the military. Karman was due to make an appearance at a Cairo sit-in by Morsi supporters. The Anti-Coup Alliance said Vice President Mohamed ElBaradei, also a Nobel laureate, “is to be held responsible for banning activists and Nobel Prize winners from entering Egypt.” (AFP, Aug. 4)

The Anti-Coup Alliance—more formally the National Alliance to Support Legitimacy in Egypt—also condemned rights abuses by the new regime in a meeting with US officials in Cairo. A delegation of former ministers and human rights activists acting on behalf of the alliance met with US Assistant Secretary of State William Burns Aug. 3, in the presence of the US ambassador and a representative of the EU. The meeting took place at Burns’ invitation, Middle East Monitor informs us.

So the US, while clearly supporting the coup (even if only after the fact), is maintaing a line to the Muslim Brotherhood. We aren’t certain to what extent the Anti-Coup Alliance is a real alliance or merely an organ of the Brotherhood. In any case, secularism being on the side of repression is dealing it severe propaganda blows, the extent of which may become grimly evident in the weeks and months to come…

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