Code Pink's Medea Benjamin: Egyptian Govt. 'Brutally Assaulted' Me, Broke My Arm While Trying to Enter Gaza Strip

The famous peace activist was trying to join a delegation.

Code Pink leader Medea Benjamin was supposed to be en route to the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian coastal enclave under severe economic siege.  Instead, she’s being deported to Turkey after spending a rough night in jail at the Cairo airport in Egypt.

Benjamin was attempting to join an International Women’s Day delegation in the Gaza Strip, which has been under an Egyptian-Israeli blockade for years.  When she arrived at the airport, she was detained by Egyptian police.  Benjamin was then thrown in jail, tackled, handcuffed and deported.  CBS News reported Benjamin received U.S. consular assistance before being taken to Turkey.

She chronicled her ordeal on Twitter. “I was supposed to be greeting international delegates for trip to Gaza.  Instead I am stuck in jail cell in cairo airport :(,” she wrote.  Then she said: “Help. They broke my arm.  Egypt police.”

According to a statement from Code Pink, Benjamin “sustained a fracture and torn ligament in her shoulder” after police removed her from a detention center.

“I was brutally assaulted by Egyptian police, who never said what I was being accused of. 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,” Benjamin said in a statement.  “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 is receiving medical assistance in Turkey before she returns to the U.S.

Code Pink has advocated for lifting the blockade of Gaza for years.  Since 2007, a total land, air and sea blockade has crippled Gaza’s economy, which is run by the Islamist group Hamas.  Egypt has long been a partner in the blockade, and the military government in power there has stepped up its crackdown on Gaza in recent months.


Alex Kane is former World editor at AlterNet. His work has appeared in Mondoweiss, Salon, VICE, the Los Angeles Review of Books and more. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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