Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Coptic Christian granted stay of deportation

With the help of the timely support from rights groups such as the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, Sameh Khouzam, an Egyptian national currently residing in Pennsylvania, was on June 15 granted an indefinite stay of deportation. Reports by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Institute on Religion and Public Policy and the ACLU state that Khouzam, a Coptic Christian, has been granted a reprieve from the government’s attempt to deport him back to Egypt, where he was would be in danger of police torture.

Khouzam left Egypt for the U.S in 1998 after he was detained by the Egyptian government and reportedly pressured into converting to Islam. After fleeing to the U.S, the Egyptian government accused him of killing a woman, claims which have proven to be unsubstantiated, resulting in the U.S. revoking his visitor’s visa with the intention of deporting him back to Egypt. Khouzam filed for religious asylum for fear that if he returned home he would be subjected to torture, abuse and persecution.

Now, nearly a decade later, a federal judge has ruled that the harm Khouzam would face if deported “outweighs any damage to our government by a delay effecting his removal while the important issues he has presented are adjudicated,” the Pittsburg Post-Gazette reported Saturday. This ruling allows Khouzam to stay in the country indefinitely while the decision in his case is being reviewed by the U.S government. The judge went on to say, “While Khouzam may have no right to be in the United States, he most assuredly has the right not to be tortured. The protection against torture is an essential component of the rule of law and a democratic society.”

For the full article, click here.



Post a Comment

<< Home