A former US diplomat was barred entry to Egypt at Cairo International Airport late Friday night, after arriving to speak at a conference of the Egyptian Council of Foreign Affairs.
News of Michele Dunne’s detention and deportation broke via the Twitter accounts of NGO colleagues through the night. Dunne, now a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, confirmed via the social networking site the news, and that she had subsequently travelled to Frankfurt following her barred entry.
Michele Dunne is a senior associate in Carnegie’s Middle East Program, where her research focuses on political and economic change in Arab countries, particularly Egypt, as well as US policy in the Middle East.
The ex-US state official had previously served in the White House on the National Security Council staff, the State Department’s Policy Planning staff. She had also served as a diplomat in Cairo and Jerusalem. Her current research looks at political and economic change in Arab countries, particularly Egypt, as well as US policy in the Middle East.
“Some Egyptians complain I don’t list[en] enough to pro-government views. When I accept invite to [conference] of [a] pro-government group, they deny me entry,” Dunne commented via her Twitter account.
The Egyptian Council of Foreign affairs told Daily News Egypt they were aware of Dunne’s deportation but had no further information and were looking into the matter. A US embassy press spokesperson told this newspaper that they would look into the matter.
Last year Dunne’s husband was one of 16 US citizens convicted by an Egyptian court for working at an NGO without a licence. The trial also included 27 Egyptian nationals, and defendants received sentences ranging between one and five years. Charles Dunne, also a former diplomat who now directs the MENA programme at democracy NGO Freedom House, received a five year prison sentence in absentia.
Michele Dunne’s deportation follows a similar case in August of this year, when Human Rights Watch (HRW) director Kenneth Roth and colleague Sarah Leah Whitson were denied entry to Egypt.
The team had arrived to deliver their organisation’s report into the mass deaths at the dispersal of the Rabaa Al-Adaweya sit-in and other protests during August 2013.
According to the HRW report, 1,150 supporters of ousted Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi were killed when “Egyptian police and army methodically opened fire with live ammunition on crowds of demonstrators”. At the time Whitson reported that Egyptian officials told the pair they were deported for “security reasons”.