Human Rights Watch accused Egyptian authorities of gagging critics yesterday when border guards stopped its executive director and another US staffer from entering the country.
Executive director Kenneth Roth and Middle East and north Africa director Sarah Leah Whitson had been scheduled to launch a critical report by the group on mass killings by security forces last summer.
An airport official said the two had been turned back on instructions from a security agency after spending nearly 12 hours in Cairo International Airport.
It was the first time Egyptian authorities had stopped staffers from the New York-based group entering the country.
Human Rights Watch was to have released a report today about last year’s security crackdown on protesters backing deposed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi.
Mr Roth and Ms Whitson were there to brief diplomats and journalists on their report.
Hundreds were killed in one of the crackdowns, described by Human Rights Watch as the worst massacre in Egypt’s modern history.