Per Bjorklund, a Cairo-based Swedish freelance journalist and blogger who covered a recent wave of factory strikes in Egypt, was denied entry on returning to the country yesterday and his passport was confiscated, apparently because his name appeared on a blacklist.
As he arrived in Cairo on a flight from Prague, he is reportedly to be expelled on the next flight back to Prague, which is not until tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, neither the Swedish embassy nor Reporters Without Borders has been able to get in touch with him since his arrest and his present location is a mystery.
“We urge the Egyptian authorities to free Bjorklund without delay and to explain why he has been treated in this manner,” Reporters Without Borders said. “It is unacceptable that he is unable to call his friends and family to tell them what is happening. The decision to expel him seems to be linked to his blog entries about the social unrest in Egypt during the past two years.”
A Cairo airport security official told the Associated Press that Bjorklund was arrested on the orders of State Security.
Bjorklund, who participated in a pro-Gaza demonstration in Cairo in February, writes about Egypt on his blog Egypt and Beyond (http://scandegypt.blogspot.com/).
Travis Randall, a US freelance journalist and blogger living in Egypt, was stopped at Cairo airport and deported four weeks ago. Both Randall and Philip Rizk, a German-Egyptian activist, were questionned after participating in the same demonstration in February. When they tried to get into Egypt, Randall was held for 12 hours while Rizk was held for four days before being deported.