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Kuwaiti authorities deport ElBaradei supporters back to Egypt

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-04-12

Egyptian authorities have denied any part in the expulsion from Kuwait of 17 Egyptians who had announced on Facebook that they would hold a public meeting to support Egyptian reformist and potential presidential candidate Mohamed ElBaradei.

REUTERS - Egypt has said it did not ask Kuwait to deport a group of Egyptians there who had backed former nuclear watchdog head Mohamed ElBaradei as a potential Egyptian presidential candidate.

Kuwait last week deported 17 Egyptians who worked in Kuwait after they announced on the Facebook website that they would hold a public meeting to support ElBaradei, a rights group said. They arrived back in Egypt on Saturday.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights and Information (ANHRI) said four more had since been deported.

"We had no idea of the matter at all and I do not think that the Foreign Ministry would go to brotherly Arab states to tell them to detain this person or that. This is refuted," Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit told Egyptian television.

He spoke late on Sunday and his comments were confirmed by a Foreign Ministry official on Monday.

Since his return in February, ElBaradei, 67, has enlivened Egyptian politics with speculation he may challenge veteran President Hosni Mubarak. His coalition has gathered about 30,000 signatures to lobby to change the constitution and revoke emergency law to secure more political freedoms.

ElBaradei Facebook groups have been formed in several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The Egyptian Facebook group has more than 200,000 members.

Human rights groups have criticised Kuwait for the deportations, with Human Rights Watch saying Kuwait was "enabling Egypt's repression by harassing ElBaradei supporters".

Aboul Gheit characterised accusations that Egypt had asked Kuwait to act as "unacceptable and irresponsible" but did not say who had made the accusations. He said Egypt's embassy was examining the issue.

Those deported were part of a Kuwait branch of Egypt's National Coalition for Change, a body formed by opposition figures and headed by ElBaradei.

Date created : 2010-04-12

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