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Egypt: Darfuri asylum-seeker risks forcible return

, Index number: MDE 12/003/2011

The Egyptian authorities reportedly intend to forcibly return Faisal Mohammed Haroun Suleiman to Sudan, possibly as early as Sunday 16 January. If returned to Sudan, he would be at grave risk of torture and an unfair trial leading to a possible death sentence.

UA: 10/11 Index: MDE 12/003/2011 Egypt Date: 14 January 2011
URGENT ACTION
DARFURI ASYLUM-SEEKER RISKS FORCIBLE RETURN
The Egyptian authorities reportedly intend to forcibly return Faisal Mohammed Haroun Suleiman
to Sudan, possibly as early as Sunday 16 January. If returned to Sudan, he would be at grave risk
of torture and an unfair trial leading to a possible death sentence.
Faisal Mohammed Haroun Suleiman, a Sudanese man from Darfur who fled to Egypt in 2004, was arrested on 7
January 2010 by Egyptian security forces in his shop in Cairo, Egypt.
Following his arrest, Faisal Mohammed Haroun Suleiman was held in incommunicado detention at the State
Security Investigations headquarters in Nasr City, Cairo, for almost three months. He had no access to his family or
a lawyer, despite requests by lawyers and rights groups to end his incommunicado detention.
His family was only allowed to see him three months later, although their visits continued to be limited afterwards.
He and 18 others were accused of weapons smuggling and human trafficking into Israel, a criminal offence which
may leave them open to charges in Sudan of dealing with an enemy state, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, or
espionage against the country, which can be punishable by the death penalty. The Egyptian Supreme State Security
Prosecution renewed their detention several times before dropping the charges on 26 December 2010. Despite their
charges being dropped, they continued to be detained in Qanater Prison, near Cairo.
Faisal Mohammed Haroun Suleiman was reportedly transferred to Al Khalifa Prison for deportation on 10 January
2011.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in English, Arabic or your own language:
Urging the Egyptian authorities not to forcibly return Faisal Mohammed Haroun Suleiman to Sudan;
Urging them to release Faisal Mohammed Haroun Suleiman unless he is promptly charged with a recognizable
criminal offence and given a fair trial in line with international standards;
Calling on them to uphold their international obligations under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of
Refugees and the UN Convention against Torture and other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment not to forcible return anyone to a country where they would be at risk of torture and other serious
human rights violations.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 25 FEBRUARY 2011 TO:
Minister of Interior
Habib Ibrahim El Adly
Ministry of Interior
25 El Sheikh Rihan Street
Bab al-Louk, Cairo, Egypt.
Fax: +20 22 796 0682
Email: moi@idsc.gov.eg
Salutation: Dear Minister
Prosecutor General
Abd El-Megeed Mahmoud
Dar al-Qadha al-‘Ali
Ramses Street, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +20 22 577 4716
Salutation: Dear Counsellor
And copies to:
Deputy Assistant Minister of Foreign
Affairs for Human Rights
Waed Abu al-Magd
Human Rights and International
Humanitarian and Social Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Corniche al-Nil, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: +20 22 574 9713
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date.
Date: 14 January 2011
URGENT ACTION
DARFURI ASYLUM-SEEKER RISKS FORCIBLE RETURN
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Amnesty International has repeatedly called on the Egyptian authorities to end abuses against refugees, asylum-seekers and
migrants who continue to be killed or imprisoned and forcibly returned to countries where they are at risk of serious human rights
violations. According to the UNHCR, some two to three million Sudanese nationals live in Egypt. Many of them are migrants, but
they include thousands of refugees who have fled persecution in Sudan. Forcible return of refugees and asylum-seekers to Sudan
clearly breaches Egypt’s obligation under international law not to return any person to a country where they would be at risk of
torture or other serious human rights violations. The Egyptian security forces have also used excessive and lethal force against
individuals who attempt to cross the border from Egypt into Israel. Most are from Sudan and Eritrea and some are likely to be
refugees or asylum-seekers. Amnesty International has repeatedly condemned these killings and use of excessive, lethal force.
On 2 March 2010, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights also condemned these killings saying that “it is a deplorable
state of affairs, and the sheer number of victims suggests that at least some Egyptian security officials have been operating a
shoot-to-kill policy”. The Egyptian authorities have constantly denied the allegations and defended the use of lethal force by
border guards, which in international law can be used only when necessary in self defence.
Egypt is party to both the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Refugee
Convention; both require Egypt to provide international protection to refugees. According to a 1954 Memorandum of
Understanding between Egypt and UNHCR, the Egyptian authorities are obliged to allow asylum-seekers to meet with UNHCR
representatives and to respect UNHCR’s assessments of their refugee status. Egypt is currently the chair of the UNHCR Executive
Committee, governing the organization.
Unfair trials are rife in Sudan. Between May 2008 and June 2010, Amnesty International documented more than 120 death
sentences that were passed following unfair trials.
In recent years and particularly since May 2008 when the Darfur-based armed opposition group Justice and Equality Movement
(JEM) attacked the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, Amnesty International has documented many cases of arbitrary and
incommunicado detention, torture and other ill-treatment, and extrajudicial executions at the hands of the National Intelligence
and Security Services (NISS) in Sudan, on the basis of their ethnicity or suspected political allegiance. In the months that
followed the JEM attack on Khartoum, Darfuris were the main targets of human rights violations committed by the NISS. Amnesty
International has recorded several cases of arbitrary detention, torture and one case of extrajudicial execution in 2010, including
among members of the opposition and human rights activists. Six people, mainly IDPs living in Khartoum, were executed in
January 2010 following unfair trials where their “confessions” were reportedly extracted under torture.
UA: 10/11 Index: MDE 12/003/2011 Issue Date: 14 January 2011

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