Twenty local human rights NGOs condemned the recent string of travel bans issued against a number of political activists and human rights defenders.
NGOs released a joint statement Monday, including El Nadeem Centre for Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence, the Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), and several other groups.
“It seems the travel bans issued against many human rights defenders recently constitute an attempt to turn Egypt’s borders into a mass prison cell,” the statement read.
“The frequency with which travel bans occur follows an ongoing series of restrictions on activists for over a year.”
Aside from a ban, some activists faced further violations, including lengthy interrogations at the airport and baggage inspections, without presenting any judicial permission or stating reasons.
The NGOs called for the ban to be lifted, as many of these verdicts against activists lack legal evidence.
Gamal Eid, the director of Arab Network of Human Rights and Information (ANHRI), was banned from travelling on Thursday. Airport authorities purportedly told Eid the ban was due to a judicial order; however he did not receive any prior notifications regarding such a decision, according to an official statement by ANHRI.
In mid-January, poet and activist Omar Hazek was also briefly banned from travel when he was departing for the Netherlands to receive an award celebrating freedom of speech.
Travel bans have also extended to activists such as Mohamed Lotfy, director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF), in June 2015, and activist Esraa Abdel Fattah in January 2015.