Thursday, December 06, 2007

American human rights activists ordered out of Pakistan

The News International, December 6, 2007

ISLAMABAD: Authorities have ordered two US human rights activists out of the country after they held a vigil to protest against the detention of an opposition lawyer, one of the activists said on Wednesday. Security officials picked up the two, Medea Benjamin and Tighe Barry, in Lahore on Tuesday and held them for several hours before ordering them to leave the country and releasing them. "They are revoking our visas and instructed us to leave the country today," Benjamin, an activist from the Code Pinkanti-war group, told Reuters by telephone from Lahore. Benjamin said authorities had given no reason for deporting them: "They said in an emergency, they did not need to give a reason for their actions." "If they can do this to a US citizen who has all kind of liberties and rights, imagine what they can do to their own people," she said. "This action shows there is no democracy. There is dictatorship. They wanted to terrorise us." "In such a situation, you cannot expect a free and fair election," said Benjamin. She said she would stage protests outside the Pakistani embassy in Washington.
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