Deporting Al-Shuja’a Violates Non-Refoulement Principle for Political Opposition
  • 26/09/2023
    SAM |

    We called on the Egyptian authorities to reconsider the deportation decision

    SAM organization for rights and liberties and the American Center for Justice stated today, Tuesday, that the Egyptian authorities must immediately cease the deportation of the political dissident and journalist Dr. Adel Al-Shuja'a, a member of the Permanent Committee of the Yemeni General People's Congress Party, forcibly to Aden. There are serious concerns about his exposure to the risk of torture or persecution at the hands of the recognized Yemeni government and the proxy fighting forces that effectively control Aden upon their return.

    On the morning of September 18, 2013, Egyptian police forces arrested Dr. Al-Shuja'a from his home in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. They confiscated his passport and mobile phone and took him to the Imbaba police station before referring him to the public prosecution. After being held in secret for a day, the Egyptian authorities are currently preparing for his deportation to Aden, following the approval of the public prosecution, based on a request from the Yemeni government. It is worth noting that he entered Egypt legally and resides there legally.

    "On the morning of Tuesday, September 26, 2023, multiple sources, including his family, confirmed that the security authorities in Cairo have transferred Dr. Al-Shuja'a to Cairo International Airport in preparation for his deportation to Aden, retracting previous promises made to Al-Shuja'a's family to transfer him to Spain, where he holds valid Spanish residency documents."


    Hamza, the son of Dr. Al-Shuja'a, said, "Security personnel from the Egyptian authorities came to our house at dawn and took my father, Dr. Adel Al-Shuja'a, to the Imbaba police station. The police treated us with respect and said that they will take my father for a chat and then he will return home. However, we followed them to the police station, and they assured us that the matter was simple and would be concluded by noon when my father would appear before the public prosecution, give his statement, and then return home. They emphasized that it was a very simple matter and did not require us to hire a lawyer. When we asked about the reason, they mentioned his writings on Facebook but did not specify which writings despite our insistence on clarification."

    Indeed, my father did not appear before the public prosecution on that day and did not return home. The next day, we went to the police station again and when we asked about him, they said he was not present at the station. The following day, he was presented to the public prosecution, but he has not been released up until today.

    Dr. Al-Shuja'a and his lawyer have been informed that he is wanted by the internationally recognized Yemeni government, based on a request from Yemeni Prime Minister Mueen Abdulmalik. This is due to his political writings and continuous criticism of the government's performance. The wife of the politician Al-Shuja'a stated on Balqis channel that the Egyptian public prosecution has approved the deportation decision, and the police station where the politician is being held informed them that they are awaiting travel tickets from the Yemeni embassy.

    The decision to deport Dr. Al-Shuja'a entails serious risks, especially considering that Yemen is experiencing a period of war. Dr. Al-Shuja'a has been sentenced to death by a Houthi court in 2017 for opposing the Houthi coup. On the other hand, Aden is not safe, which poses a serious threat to his life. Journalist Ahmed Mahir is still detained on the basis of his journalistic opinions and is subjected to severe torture, according to the testimony of his brother who was detained with him but later released. He was forced to appear in a recording showing signs of exhaustion due to torture in the prisons of the non-state forces that control Aden and refuse to bring him to trial.

    The Yemeni government, internationally recognized as legitimate, has a notorious record of systematic torture and enforced disappearances. It controls Aden, Hadramawt, Shabwah, and Al-Mahra, with military formations and security units that were established outside the framework of the Ministry of Defense and Interior in the legitimate government. It is supported by the United Arab Emirates and engages in widespread violations of international law and international humanitarian law. It operates unlawful prisons outside the supervision of the judiciary, where forced disappearances and systematic torture are practiced.

    SAM organization and several local and international organizations have documented numerous cases of torture in prisons affiliated with these formations in Aden, Hadramawt, Shabwah, and Al-Mahra. According to the report of the expert team, there are compelling reasons to believe that the governments of Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia are responsible for human rights violations, including enforced disappearances. Many of these violations appear to be linked to the conflict and may constitute war crimes, such as rape and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, torture, and/or violations of personal dignity.

    The recognized Yemeni government bears responsibility for exposing the brave politician to danger, whether to his life or physical safety, and for the effective control of prisons and detention centers by groups and formations that are not subject to the Ministries of Interior and Defense of the recognized government, nor under the supervision of judicial authorities. The government has been unable to protect its headquarters and its government members, most of whom reside outside of Yemen, including Prime Minister Ma'een Abdulmalik, due to the security risks. The "Maashiq Palace," the recognized government's headquarters in Aden, has been stormed multiple times by armed militants.

    The principle of non-refoulement is a well-established rule in international law that prohibits states from returning individuals to a place where they may be subjected to persecution or other serious human rights violations. Any person at risk of deportation must be given an opportunity to access legal counsel, meet with representatives of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and challenge their deportation before a court.

    According to Article 3 of the Convention against Torture, which the Arab Republic of Egypt has signed, it is prohibited to extradite, expel, return, or transfer Dr. Adel Al-Shuja'a to the Yemeni government or forcibly deport him to Yemen if there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be at risk of torture.

    SAM and the American Center for Justice urge the Egyptian authorities to provide an opportunity for Dr. Adel Al-Shuja'a and adhere to the principle of non-refoulement for political dissidents. SAM also calls for granting him and relevant international entities the opportunity to seek a safe haven for him and his family. According to his wife's testimony on Balqees channel, Dr. Al-Shuja'a holds a valid Spanish residence permit, and he can leave Egypt and reside there.





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