American academic dubbed national security threat, banned from Egypt

Published May 29th, 2016 - 04:13 GMT
Adi Petiwala experienced, if briefly, what it was like being detained in Cairo holding cells. (image: Facebook)
Adi Petiwala experienced, if briefly, what it was like being detained in Cairo holding cells. (image: Facebook)

A US master’s degree student who was banned from Egypt last week told her story on Facebook. 

Adi Petiwala is a graduate student at New York University, studying media studies and Indian culture in Egypt. Petiwala is married to an Egyptian man who does not have a US visa. 

The couple flew from France to Cairo on Tuesday May 24. Petiwala said Egyptian officials interrogated her and her husband for hours. 

Eventually, they dubbed her “a national security threat,” banned her from returning to Egypt, and put her on a plane to Germany.

On Facebook, Petiwala decried her “inhumane treatment,” but said it was nothing compared to what was being done to some Syrian migrants who were being detained in the cell next to hers.   

“The Syrians on the other side were treated with extreme cruelty and humiliated in words I cannot repeat,” wrote the graduate student on Facebook. 

Petiwala also stumbled upon a cell full of women, one of whom was a pregnant Nigerian who said she’d been held for 15 days already.  

Petiwala says she still does not know why she was booted from Egypt, but acknowledged that “there is sensitivity and surveillance surrounding every single one of the institutions I have been affiliated with.” 

In 2013-4, Petiwala had a scholarship to the American University in Cairo

(Hat tip, MEE)

-Hunter Stuart


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