Egypt bars Irish Nobel peace laureate Mairead Maguire

An October 21, 2013, file photo shows Mairead Corrigan Maguire, 1976 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, as she addresses the 13th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laurates in Warsaw, Poland

Egypt detained and deported Northern Irish Nobel Laureate and peace activist Mairead Maguire on Wednesday after she tried to enter the country, she and airport officials said.

She had intended to join a delegation of activists going to the neighboring Palestinian Gaza Strip on Thursday.

On Tuesday, airport police had detained and deported American anti-war activist Medea Benjamin, also part of the delegation. She told AFP her arm was broken by the policemen.

Maguire said she arrived at Cairo airport with fellow activist Ann Patterson on Tuesday night.

“We were taken to the detention center and questioned and held for eight hours, and were told we would not be allowed entry into Cairo and would be put on a plane,” Maguire told AFP by telephone from London afterwards.

The police were “polite” but offered her no reason for barring her, she said. An airport official told AFP she had been blacklisted.

Maguire, born in 1944, won the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize with Betty Williams for founding a peace group to resolve the conflict between North Ireland’s Catholics and Protestants.

She had become a vocal supporter of Palestinians and was expelled from Israel in 2010, after she tried to enter the blockaded Gaza Strip aboard a ship with other activists.