The co-founder of the U.S. anti-war group Code Pink says that she was detained at Cairo International Airport, placed in a jail cell and had her arm broken when she was roughed up by Egyptian security forces Monday night.
Medea Benjamin said she was on her way to Gaza to join a group of 100 other women for International Women’s Day 2014 when she was stopped, posting photos and updates on Twitter.
“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 according to a statement posted Tuesday on Code Pink’s website.
Benjamin said she was forced to fly to Istanbul, Turkey even though she was not fit to do so.
Benjamin is a fierce critic of Israel and was a passenger on the failed 2011 “Gaza Flotilla II” effort to bring attention to the Palestinian cause by breaking the sea blockade of Gaza. Israel says its security measures are a response to past efforts at smuggling heavy arms to Palestinian terrorist groups by sea.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo confirmed to CBS News that Benjamin had left Egypt after receiving consular assistance from the embassy.
Egypt in recent months has been engaged in a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideological ally in Gaza, Hamas.
On Tuesday, an Egyptian court ruled that all activities of Hamas would be outlawed – including a closing of their offices in Egypt - another sign of the souring of relations between the neighbors. Both Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood have been designated terrorist groups in Egypt since Islamist President Mohammed Morsi was ousted from office last summer.