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CODEPINK Anti-War Activist Detained, Beaten by Egyptian Police

Radio silence from US embassy follows group's pleas for help

Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

American social justice activist Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK, was detained by officials upon arrival in Egypt en route to Gaza and "brutally assaulted" before being deported out of the country, according to twitter messages and a statement released by her organization.

“I was brutally assaulted by Egyptian police, who never said what I was being accused of," said Benjamin from Istanbul, where she arrived after being deported. "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. I was then forced to sit between the two men who attacked me on the plane ride from Cairo to Istanbul, and I was (and still am) in terrible pain the whole time.”

Benjamin was attempting to enter Egypt to meet up with an international delegation of women who were traveling to Gaza for International Women's Day on March 8. The delegation was traveling there to highlight the plight of women in Gaza. Conditions have worsened since the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza was indefinitely closed last year, Benjamin said in an interview over the phone with Democracy Now!.

CODEPINK has continuously called for the "lifting of the siege on Gaza," and an end to Israeli settlements in the West Bank.

Benjamin, a U.S. citizen and well known anti-war activist, said the U.S. embassy never arrived to help her out of the situation despite repeated calls by colleagues at CODEPINK.

While being held overnight in the detention cell at the Cairo airport, Benjamin used her cell phone to contact colleagues and live tweet her situation to the world:

Benjamin spoke with Democracy Now! over the phone Tuesday morning after the ordeal:


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