LARNACA: US pro-democracy activists who had been on trial in Egypt were in Cyprus on Friday after flying out of Cairo, an airport official said, following the lifting of a travel ban on them.
The activists arrived on a private plane overnight and were due to fly out “soon” the same day, the official told AFP.
The timing was apparently complicated by a strike by Cypriot air traffic controllers, in industrial action over pay running from noon to 4:00 PM (1000-1400 GMT).
An official at the US embassy in Nicosia declined to comment on the activists.
On Thursday night, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported that 15 foreigners had left for Larnaca, including eight Americans.
MENA said the non-American passengers comprised a Norwegian, three Serbs, two Germans and a Palestinian.
Cairo airport officials had said 17 foreigners, including nine Americans, had left, and it was not immediately clear why there was a discrepancy in the figures.
The Cypriot airport official said the private aircraft was due to leave on Friday, without mentioning the other nationals, and it was unclear whether the Americans would travel on it or take commercial flights.
The activists worked with five foreign NGOs accused of receiving illicit foreign funds and operating without licenses.
Their departure is expected to ease tensions with Washington, which had urged Egypt’s military rulers to resolve the case, which American officials and legislators had said could imperil US aid to its key Middle Eastern ally.