Babylon & Beyond

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EGYPT: Swedish journalist deported

October 1, 2009 |  7:01 am


A Swedish journalist was deported by Egyptian state security officials today after he was detained at Cairo's airport Tuesday and prevented from entering the country.

Per Bjorklund, who has been living in Cairo for the last three years as a freelance writer, was stopped by immigration officers upon his return from Sweden via Prague with his girlfriend. He was held at the airport for nearly 48 hours and then put on a plane out of the country. He arrived in Stockholm this afternoon.

Officials gave no reason for deporting Bjorklund, but the 30-year-old said that he was informed by security personnel that his name was on a blacklist. "Airport officers didn’t even know why I was being detained. It is obvious that my deportation was a decision that came from a higher authority," Bjorklund told The Times from Stockholm.

Bjorklund has written many stories on Egypt's wave of labor strikes over the last 12 months. Most of his work was published in his native language in Swedish publications. He also writes a blog and this year took part in a demonstration against Egypt's blockade of the Gaza strip, a protest where a number of foreigners were detained and later released.

"I don’t want to speculate about their motives to deport me, but I think it's a combination of what I wrote as well as the contacts I made here in Egypt," Bjorklund added.

Last month, American journalist and blogger Travis Randall, who also took part in the pro-Gaza protest, was similarly halted and deported from the airport with no official reason given.

-- Amro Hassan in Cairo

Photo: Per Bjorklund. Credit: Al Youm Al Sabee