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Sweden/Egypt: Forcible Return/ Risk of Torture, Muhammad Muhammad Suleiman Ibrahim El-Zari, Ahmed Hussein Mustafa Kamil Agiza

, Index number: MDE 12/035/2001

The Swedish authorities forcibly returned two Egyptian asylum-seekers on 18 December, after rejecting their asylum claims in an unfair procedure. In Egypt they are at grave risk of torture and unfair trial. The men's whereabouts are unknown and they are feared to be held incommunicado. Both have said that they have been tortured while detained in Egypt in the past.

PUBLIC AI Index: MDE 12/035/2001
UA 324/01 Forcible Return/ Risk of Torture 19 December 2001
SWEDEN/EGYPTMuhammad Muhammad Suleiman Ibrahim El-Zari (m), aged 33
Ahmed Hussein Mustafa Kamil Agiza (m), aged 39
His wife and five children
The Swedish authorities forcibly returned the two Egyptian asylum-seekers named
above on 18 December, after rejecting their asylum claims in an unfair procedure.
In Egypt they are at grave risk of torture and unfair trial. The men’s whereabouts
are unknown and they are feared to be held incommunicado. Both have said that
they have been tortured while detained in Egypt in the past.
Ahmed Hussein Mustafa Kamil Agiza’s wife and five children have been denied
refugee status in Sweden in an unfair procedure, and may also be at risk of
forcible return.
Muhammad Muhammad Suleiman Ibrahim El-Zari has been described in various
international publications, including the Arabic daily newspapers al-Sharq
al-Awsat and al-Hayat, as a member of an armed Islamist group. He has denied
this, and stated that he is an activist for a non-violent Islamist opposition
group in Egypt.
Ahmed Hussein Mustafa Kamil Agiza has denied allegations by the Swedish Security
Police (Säpo) that he is a member of an armed group. He had been one of 107
people charged with membership of the Islamist armed group al-Gihad (Holy
Struggle) in an unfair trial before the Supreme Military Court. In April 1999
the court sentenced him in absentia to 25 years’ imprisonment. Such trials
of alleged members of armed Islamist groups before military or (Emergency)
Supreme State Security courts are grossly unfair.
The Swedish government recognised both men as having a well-founded fear of
persecution in an decision on 18 December 2001. However, the government excluded
them from protection on the basis of connections to organizations which had
been responsible for acts of “terrorism”. The government made its decision
on the basis of secret evidence provided by the Swedish Security Police which
was not disclosed in full to the men and their legal counsel.
The Swedish government held that the men would not be at risk of serious human
rights violations in Egypt, on the basis of written guarantees from the Egyptian
authorities. Amnesty International is concerned that these written guarantees
are an insufficient safeguard, that the Swedish government is in breach of
its obligations under international refugee law and human rights law not to
send anyone back to a country where they risk serious human rights violations
such as torture.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In Egypt suspected members of armed Islamist opposition groups are frequently
tortured, particularly at the SSI headquarters in Lazoghly Square, Cairo, but
also other SSI branches, at police stations and occasionally prisons. The
methods most commonly reported are electric shocks, beatings, suspension by
the wrists or ankles, burning with cigarettes, and various forms of
psychological torture, including death threats and threats of rape or sexual
abuse of the detainee or their female relatives. Despite hundreds of complaints
of torture reported by lawyers and local human rights groups to the Public
Prosecutor’s Office, no impartial investigations are known to have been
conducted.
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After considering the State Party Report in May 1999, the UN Committee Against
Torture recommended "that Egypt takes effective measures to prevent torture
in police and SSI custody...[and] that a proper registry of detainees, both
police and SSI, which is accessible to members of the public be established
and maintained."
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send appeals to arrive as quickly as possible, in
English, Swedish, Arabic or your own language:
To the Swedish authorities:
- expressing concern that the Egyptian asylum-seekers Muhammad Muhammad
Suleiman Ibrahim El-Zari and Ahmed Hussein Mustafa Kamil Agiza were forcibly
returned to Egypt on 18 December, and urging them to ensure that the men are
not subjected to human rights violations, including torture and unfair trial,
in Egypt;
- urging the authorities not to forcibly return Ahmed Hussein Mustafa Kamil
Agiza’s wife and children to Egypt, and to ensure that his family’s claims
for protection will be examined in a fair asylum procedure;
- urging the Swedish government not to forcibly return anyone to a country
where they would be at risk of serious human rights violations, in accordance
with Sweden’s international obligations.
Prime Minister Göran Persson
Prime Minister’s Office
SE-103 33 Stockholm
Sweden
Fax: + 46 8 723 11 71
E-mail: registrator@primeminister.ministry.se
Salutation:Dear Prime Minister
Foreign Minister Anna Lindh
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Box 161 21
SE-103 39 Stockholm
Sweden
Fax: + 46 8 723 11 76
E-mail: registrator@foreign.ministry.se
Salutation:Dear Minister
Ambassador Sven G. Linder
Embassy of Sweden
13, Mohamed Mazhar Street
PO Box 131
11211 Zamalek
Egypt
Fax: +20 2 735 43 57
E-mail:ambassaden.kairo@foreign.ministry.se
Salutation:Your Excellency
To the Egyptian authorities:
- seeking assurances that Muhammad Muhammad Suleiman Ibrahim and Ahmed Hussein
Mustafa Kamil Agiza are being humanely treated in detention and that they are
given regular access to lawyers of their choice;
- reminding the government of the absolute prohibition on torture in customary
international law and of their commitment to the Universal Declaration of Human
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Rights, in particular Article 5: "No one shall be subjected to torture or to
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".
APPEALS TO:
His Excellency Mohammad Hosni Mubarak
President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
‘Abedine Palace, Cairo, Egypt
Telegram: President Mubarak, Cairo, Egypt
E-mail: webmaster@presidency.gov.eg
Fax: + 202 390 1998
Telex: 93794 WAZRA UN
Salutation: Your Excellency
His Excellency General Habib al-’Adeli
Minister of the Interior
Ministry of the Interior
Al-Sheikh Rihan Street
Bab al-Louk, Cairo, Egypt
Telegram:Minister Interior, Cairo, Egypt
Fax: + 202 579 2031
E-mail:moi@idsc.gov.eg
Salutation: Dear Minister
Copies to diplomatic representatives of Egypt accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 30 January 2002.

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