Egypt has banned a prominent female activist from travelling to a human rights meeting in Beirut, the latest step in a crackdown on free speech and dissent.
The group founded by Mozn Hassan, Nazra for Feminist Studies, said in a statement that Cairo airport authorities at passport control had banned her from leaving the country on Monday morning.
She had planned to attend a meeting in Beirut of the Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) regional coalition for the Middle East and north Africa.
Nazra said the case was linked to an intensified crackdown on non-governmental organisations. This year Egypt reopened a 2011 criminal investigation into a number of NGOs including Nazra and other rights groups on suspicion of illegally taking foreign funds and aiming to “harm national security”.
In March Hassan was summoned for questioning, along with other staff, over claims that Nazra had been operating illegally.
“Other people will carry on the work,” she said at the time. “I know it’s my choice. I have this passion about feminism in my country. I know it sounds cheesy, but there is something about Nazra. It’s not about [one] person – we’ve really managed to have this collective.”