Kuwait deports 17 pro-ElBaradei Egyptians
Kuwait City, April 11, 2010
Kuwaiti authorities on Saturday deported 17 Egyptian nationals supporting potential Egyptian presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei in Kuwait City, an Arabic human rights group in Cairo told Reuters.
The 17 Egyptians arrived at Cairo airport late on Saturday. They were among 33 Egyptians in Kuwait City who belonged to a pro-ElBaradei group on the social networking site Facebook and who were detained by Kuwaiti authorities on Friday, the head of the Arabic Network for Human Rights and Information said.
'There is no legal reason given or proof of indictment of these Egyptian nationals,' ANHRI's head Gamal Eid told Reuters.
'These Egyptians have lost their livelihood because they wanted to express support to ElBaradei's National Coalition.'
The online group, which has 378 members so far, had planned to hold its first meeting in public to launch the Kuwaiti branch of the Egyptian National Coalition for Change, a group set up by pro-ElBaradei activists in February and led by ElBaradei.
The 67-year-old's return to Egypt has galvanised the country's calcified politics. So far ElBaradei's coalition has gathered some 30,000 signatures in Egypt to lobby the government to change the constitution and to revoke Emergency Law, in place since 1981.
'Egyptians in Kuwait formed the Kuwaiti branch of the National Coalition for Change to support ElBaradei's campaign for reform,' Hamdi Qandil, a leading member of the coalition told Reuters. 'They were going to meet for the first time on Thursday but were prevented.'
No one at the Egyptian embassy in Kuwait or at the foreign ministry in Egypt was immediately available to comment.
Several ElBaradei Facebook groups have formed outside Egypt and in the Arab world including Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar. The Egyptian Facebook group now has over 200,000 members.
Kuwaiti officials said Egypt's internal politics should be kept in Egypt and not exercised abroad. 'There are no Egyptian elections at the moment ... and it is unacceptable for nationals to take the internal politics of their countries to the host country,' Rawodan Al Rawodan, Kuwait's Minister of Cabinet Affairs, told Reuters in Cairo.
'These Egyptians are here to work not to form groups,' he said. 'Kuwait does not interfere into Egypt's internal affairs.'
Eid from ANHRI said the deportations were politically motivated. 'These deportations are the Kuwaiti government's favour to the current Egyptian government,' he said. - Reuters