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Jun 27, 9:05 AM EDT

Egypt bars female activist from traveling to rights meeting

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CAIRO (AP) -- Egypt has banned a prominent female activist from travelling to a human rights meeting in Beirut, the latest step in a crackdown on free speech and dissent.

The group founded by Mozn Hassan, Nazra for Feminist Studies, says in a statement that Cairo airport authorities at passport control banned her from leaving the country Monday morning.

She had planned to attend a meeting in Beirut of the Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRD) Regional Coalition for the Middle East and North Africa.

Nazra said the case was linked to an intensified crackdown on non-governmental organizations. Egypt earlier this year reopened a 2011 criminal investigation into a number of NGOs - including Nazra and other rights groups - on suspicion of illegally taking foreign funds and aiming to "harm national security."

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