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Journalist Once Banned From Leaving Egypt Slams Its Rafah Crossing Policy

Egyptian journalist and human rights advocate Hossam Bahgat was banned from traveling outside of Egypt for eight years.

Israel’s seizure of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt has sparked anger from the Egyptian government, which has warned that Israel is endangering the landmark 1978 Camp David Accords that normalized relations between the two countries. Despite the increasingly critical tone about Israel’s war on Gaza, however, Egyptian authorities have closely coordinated with Israel in decisions around allowing humanitarian aid in through the Rafah crossing and allowing Palestinians out of Gaza. Egyptian security forces have also locked up over 120 people in Egypt, placing them in pretrial detention on terrorism charges for expressing solidarity with Palestine. “There is a fear within the system that allowing people to voice support and solidarity with Palestinians’ opposition to Israel will extend not just to criticism of the Egyptians’ official position vis-à-vis the war … but also extend to the domestic situation, the human rights situation, the unprecedented economic crisis the country is going through,” says Egyptian journalist and human rights advocate Hossam Bahgat. He is executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights and was banned from traveling outside of Egypt for the past eight years, with his assets frozen, as part of an Egyptian government crackdown on human rights NGOs. In March, Egyptian authorities finally closed the case against EIPR and other human rights groups and lifted the travel ban, allowing Bahgat to join us now in our New York studio.

Please check back later for full transcript.

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