CAIROMarch 4 (UPI) -- Women's rights activist and co-founder of CODEPINK Medea Benjamin was detained in Egypt on Monday while en route to Gaza to join an international delegation of women, and asserts Egyptian authorities brutally attacked and injured her.
The American citizen was detained by Cairo airport border police and held in a cell overnight before her deportation to Turkey on Tuesday. She described her ordeal to her organization, CODEPINK, after arriving in Istanbul:
"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. 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."
According to CODEPINK, doctors at the airport deemed Benjamin unfit to board the flight to Turkey. Egyptian authorities, however, forced her to fly to Turkey. Benjamin, CODEPINK said, remains in Istanbul for medical treatment before she is able to return to the U.S.
At the U.S. Department of State on Tuesday, a reporter asked State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki to respond to reports that Benajmin -- an American citizen -- had requested U.S. Embassy assistance but that none came to her aid. Psaki said that "due to privacy considerations," she could not confirm the identity of a U.S. citizen who requested consular assistance but that "our consular officers in Egypt were in contact with the U.S. citizen and provided all appropriate consular assistance. ... I can assure you that our consular officers in Egypt did provide all of the assistance necessary."
[CODEPINK] [State Department]