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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World
2:00 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Egyptian Christians Lash Out Against Rulers

Christians protest outside St. Mark's Cathedral in Cairo, a day after 25 people, mostly Christians, died in clashes with Egyptian security forces.

Mahmud Hams AFP/Getty Images

Ormany Makary's coffin teetered precariously as throngs of mourners carried the 25-year-old truck driver's body to the front of Abbasiya Cathedral, chanting "Raise up your head, you are Copts!"

But his fiancee, Saafa Gaber, couldn't.

Makary was among the 25 people killed in a night of clashes between mostly Coptic Christian protesters and Egyptian soldiers.

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Middle East
1:53 pm
Thu September 29, 2011

In Saudi Arabia, Only Men Vote, And Not Often

Saudi men wait to cast their votes in municipal elections in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday. Turnout appeared to be low. King Abdullah says that women will be allowed to vote in the next municipal elections, in 2015.
Hassan Ammar AP

Originally published on Thu September 29, 2011 7:16 pm

In Saudi Arabia, where King Abdullah has the only vote that really counts, elections are still a novelty.

Municipal elections on Thursday marked just the third ballot in the kingdom's history. Only men could vote in polls to fill half the seats on some 300 municipal councils. The other half are appointed by the government.

Even before the polls closed, Saudi officials declared the election a success. But turnout appeared low at many voting stations, including in the capital, Riyadh.

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Middle East
3:58 am
Mon September 26, 2011

In Egypt, Mubarak-Era Emergency Law To Stay

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

Originally published on Mon September 26, 2011 8:54 am

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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Middle East
3:00 am
Tue September 13, 2011

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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World
2:00 pm
Mon September 5, 2011

Scuffles Interrupt Mubarak Trial

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, host: From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

In Egypt today, the trial of former President Hosni Mubarak resumed and, according to Egyptian officials, violence both outside and inside the courtroom left a dozen people injured. Witnesses testified for the first time during the daylong hearing. Today's focus: Who ordered police to fatally shoot about 850 protestors during the uprising against the former leader?

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Middle East
5:48 am
Mon September 5, 2011

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.

Africa
4:13 pm
Tue August 30, 2011

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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Conflict In Libya
1:35 pm
Mon August 29, 2011

Libya's Ex-Prisoners Finding Their Way Home

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

Originally published on Mon August 29, 2011 7:06 pm

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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Africa
7:00 am
Sat August 27, 2011

Libyan Rebels Plan Rule, Prepare Final Assault

Originally published on Sat August 27, 2011 9:53 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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NPR Story
2:00 pm
Fri August 26, 2011

Libyan Rebels Face Daunting Task: Building A Government

The difficulty Libyan rebels are having moving their leaders to Tripoli from their temporary capital in Benghazi pales in comparison to the daunting task they face trying to set up a new, post-Gadhafi government. Continued fighting in Tripoli and elsewhere in Libya are hampering efforts to set up an interim government in the next two weeks as planned. There's in-fighting between key leaders whose unity is cracking now that Moammar Gadhafi is gone. Libyans also have to build from scratch many institutions that are key to creating any meaningful democracy.

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