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Authorities Bar 6 Americans From Leaving Egypt

Jan 27, 2012
Originally published on January 27, 2012 9:04 am
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STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Egyptian authorities are preventing six Americans from leaving the country. They're involved with international rights groups, the sort of groups that Egyptian security forces raided last month, blaming them for causing trouble. One of the people being kept in Egypt is the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. NPR Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson has the story from Cairo.

SORAYA SARHADDI NELSON, BYLINE: Sam LaHood, who heads the Egypt office of the International Republican Institute, was among the Americans kept from boarding flights out of Egypt in recent days. Four Europeans were also prevented from leaving. No reason was given for the travel ban, although Egyptian authorities are investigating whether the institute and other foreign-based groups are operating illegally here. Last month, security forces ransacked their offices around Egypt, carting away computers and documents. Egypt's ruling generals blamed, quote, "foreign elements" for lingering protests and unrest which led to the crackdown. LaHood's organization was among those monitoring recent parliamentary elections here. The targeted groups and Western officials denounced the raids and travel ban as harassment. U.S. Senator John McCain warned that continued attacks on civil society groups could damage the longstanding partnership between the United States and Egypt. And the State Department's top human rights official, Michael Posner, said the actions could affect the more $1 billion in U.S. aid Egypt receives each year. Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson, NPR News, Cairo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.