An American activist who spent Monday night in custody in the airport in Egypt's Cairo live-tweeted what she described as abuse by Egyptian authorities, before being deported to Turkey.
Medea Benjamin, a co-founder of anti-war group Code Pink, flew to the Egyptian capital en route to the Gaza Strip to take part in an international women's delegation, according to a statement by the group.
When Benjamin was denied entry to Egypt by authorities, she began live-tweeting her experience.
I'm being held in a jail at Cairo airport!!!
This is my cell in Cairo airport pic.twitter.com/ogIaXTvJvh
An Egyptian interior ministry official told CNN that Benjamin was refused entry to the country because Egypt's border to the Gaza Strip is closed. "She was denied entry, not detained. There's a big difference," Brigadier Alaa Mahmoud said.
Egypt is a common transit point to the Palestinian enclave, which borders Egypt's Sinai and Israel. Tensions have risen between the Egyptian government and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip since the ouster of Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. On Tuesday, a Cairo court banned Hamas from operating in Egypt, The Guardian reports.
Only food for 5 women is dirty stale bread and dirty water pic.twitter.com/6YFwXm4KL0
Freezing in Cairo cell. Guards call me "American"--American, do this. American, do that.
Women in Egyptian jail cell with me moaning all night, sick. Guards won't jet her see a doctor.
Benjamin told the Associated Press that Egyptian police assaulted her when she refused to be deported until meeting with U.S. diplomatic officials.
Help. They broke my arm. Egypt police
In a statement from Code Pink, Benjamin described her deportation.
When the authorities came into the cell to deport me, two men threw me to the ground, stomped on my back, pulled my shoulder out of its socket and handcuffed me so that my injured arm was twisted around and my wrists began to bleed.
An Egyptian airport official denied to the AP that Benjamin had been assaulted.
Benjamin arrived in Istanbul on Tuesday, where she is being treated for a fracture and torn ligament in her shoulder before returning to the U.S., according to Code Pink.
Update: @medeabenjamin is in Istanbul, where she was deported to, headed to hospital to receive treatment for shoulder. Flying to US tonight
— CODEPINK (@codepink) March 4, 2014
Code Pink was founded in the build-up to the 2003 war in Iraq. In 2007, Benjamin said she was refused entry to Canada because she had been arrested for trespassing and unlawful assembly during protests.
As CNN notes, the Code Pink co-founder also made headlines in May 2013 when she heckled President Barack Obama during a speech on counterterrorism.