Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson

International correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is based in Berlin and covers Central Europe for NPR. Her reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning programs including Morning Edition and All Things Considered.

She was previously based in Cairo and covered the Arab World for NPR from the Middle East to North Africa. Nelson returns to Egypt on occasion to cover the tumultuous transition to democracy there.

In 2006, Nelson opened the NPR Kabul Bureau. During the following three and a half years, she gave listeners in an in-depth sense of life inside Afghanistan, from the increase in suicide among women in a country that treats them as second class citizens to the growing interference of Iran and Pakistan in Afghan affairs. For her coverage of Afghanistan, she won a Peabody Award, Overseas Press Club Award and the Gracie in 2010. She received the Elijah Parish Lovejoy Award from Colby College in 2011 for her coverage in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

Nelson spent 20 years as newspaper reporter, including as Knight Ridder's Middle East Bureau Chief. While at the Los Angeles Times, she was sent on extended assignment to Iran and Afghanistan following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. She spent three years an editor and reporter for Newsday and was part of the team that won the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for covering the crash of TWA Flight 800.

A graduate of the University of Maryland, Nelson speaks Farsi, Dari and German.

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2:58am

Mon September 26, 2011
Middle East

In Egypt, Mubarak-Era Emergency Law To Stay

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 7:54 am

Egyptian demonstrators protest against the emergency law in front of the Interior Ministry in Cairo on Friday. The country's military rulers announced last week that the Hosni Mubarak-era measure would remain in effect until at least next June.
Khalil Hamra AP

Egypt's military rulers announced that a decades-old emergency law curtailing civil rights will continue until at least next June.

Ending the controversial law was a key demand of Egyptian protesters who forced former President Hosni Mubarak from power in February. But the military, which planned to lift the emergency law before parliamentary elections scheduled in November, said last week it had no choice but to employ the draconian measure after a mob attack on the Israeli Embassy earlier this month.

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10:01pm

Wed September 21, 2011
Middle East

Egypt's Political Turmoil Drives Foreign Tourists Away

Tourist guides sit on camels as they wait for clients next to the Giza pyramids on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt, June 23. Tourism in Egypt has dropped 35 percent overall in the first half of this year compared with the same period in 2010.
Khalil Hamra AP

The big losers of the Arab Spring in Egypt aren't just Hosni Mubarak and his allies.

Before the February revolution, one of every seven Egyptians made a living in the tourism industry. But nearly seven months after the popular uprising, foreign tourists are still largely staying away.

Their absence has delivered a multibillion-dollar financial blow that is reverberating from luxury tour operators down to vendors in Cairo's bazaars.

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2:00am

Tue September 13, 2011
Middle East

Egypt to Stop Trying Civilians In Military Court

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, host: Meaningful qualification there, saying that most of those shots in other parts of Kabul seem to be wild shots that miss the embassy. We're also following the upheavals in Egypt, where last winter's revolution was only the beginning of change. The military - after Hosni Mubarak's fall - replaced civilian courts with courts of its own, and military justice has proved to be harsher. The military says it will end civilian trials in military courts, but many activists doubt that. Here's NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson.

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4:48am

Mon September 5, 2011
Middle East

Mubarak Trial Resumes In Egypt

In Cairo, the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is scheduled to resume Monday. On the first day that testimony is expected, the judge has banned cameras from the courtroom. Mubarak is accused of ordering the killing of protesters during the uprising earlier this year. The 83-year-old denies the charges.

2:00am

Thu September 1, 2011
Africa

Rebels Tasked With Ensuring Libyans Security

Nearly all Libyans agree that security should be a top priority for the country's interim government. Some councilmen and rebel commanders say the first step to ensuring security will be to take away the light arms that both sides handed out en masse.

3:13pm

Tue August 30, 2011
Africa

Libyan Rebels Set Deadline For Surrender

Libyan rebel fighters advance in their tank about 60 miles east of the town of Sirte on Tuesday, Aug. 30. Sirte is Moammar Gadhafi's hometown and the last bastion of his loyalist forces.
Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty Images

Libya's rebels say they have more than 10,000 fighters surrounding Moammar Gadhafi's hometown of Sirte and are waiting for the order to attack.

The rebel officials say that order will be given this Saturday. But over the next few days, they will try to negotiate the peaceful surrender of Sirte, the last major bastion of Gadhafi's forces.

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12:35pm

Mon August 29, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Libya's Ex-Prisoners Finding Their Way Home

Originally published on Mon August 29, 2011 6:06 pm

The walls of the Libyan Red Crescent office in Benghazi, Libya, shown here on Monday, are covered with photos of the missing. Some disappeared during Libya's revolution, but some have been missing for more than 10 years. Now, thousands released from Libya's prisons are being reunited with their families.
Susannah George NPR

In Libya, thousands of rebel fighters and political prisoners freed from Moammar Gadhafi's notorious prisons are making their way home. But tens of thousands more are still missing.

Anxious relatives and friends in the eastern city of Benghazi have flooded the airport and docks night after night in hopes of finding their loved ones arriving by plane or by boat.

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6:00am

Sat August 27, 2011
Africa

Libyan Rebels Plan Rule, Prepare Final Assault

Originally published on Sat August 27, 2011 8:53 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News, I'm Scott Simon. Libyan rebels say they've secured most of Tripoli and taken a key border crossing to Tunisia. That crossing is vital to getting food and supplies into the Libyan capital where the human situation is growing dire. Members of the rebel council in Benghazi say they're relocating to Tripoli where they will set up an interim government that will rule Libya into 2012. NPR's Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson is in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi. Soraya, thanks for being with us.

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2:00am

Thu August 25, 2011
NPR Story

Libyan Rebels Ask Oil Workers To Return To Brega

Now that the regime of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is crumbling, residents of some cities outside the capital are returning to their homes. Brega, site of an important oil installation, is one such city. It changed hands several times during the conflict but it is firmly in rebel hands, and its residents are trying to re-establish their lives.

2:00am

Mon August 22, 2011
Middle East

Egyptians Fear Military Stymies Democracy Push

The Egyptian military is cracking down on pro-democracy activists, particularly those using the Internet to convey their message. The military rulers are also putting out statements to try to turn public sentiment against the activists, who were pivotal in starting the uprising that ousted former leader Hosni Mubarak.

1:16pm

Fri July 29, 2011
Culture And Traditions

At 7 Days, Egyptian Babies Mark First Rite Of Passage

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:36 am

Israa Saad Diab lifts the cover from her son Hamza's face, while her husband, Ibrahim Muhammad, watches, after the traditional Sebou ceremony in Mansoura, Egypt, on May 27.
Holly Pickett for NPR

In Egypt, survival and the number 7 are inextricably linked. It's on the seventh day that a child's existence is first formally acknowledged to the world in a ritual that dates back to Pharaonic times.

But the ancient tradition — called the Sebou — has taken on new and not always happy turns since a revolution earlier this year ousted longtime President Hosni Mubarak.

Building An Infant's Character

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