Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Friday, September 07, 2007

Coptic Christian fights deportation, fears torture

An Egyptian man who said he fled to the U.S. in 1998 to escape torture and forced conversion to Islam is fighting deportation sought by U.S. officials who say they’ve received assurances he will not be tortured upon his return, according to The Times-Tribune.

Sameh Sami S. Khouzam, 38, was convicted in absentia of murdering a woman before fleeing to the U.S., though information about that alleged murder provided by Egyptian authorities is contradictory and unclear.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed paperwork in Scranton, Pennsylvania’s federal court asking that Khouzam not be deported and claiming that he will probably be tortured upon his return, citing reports from the U.S. Department of State that say torture is “pervasive in Egyptian detention centers.”

Officials with the U.S. Department of State and Department of Homeland Security arrested Khouzam and began deportation procedures in May after receiving “diplomatic assurances” from Egyptian officials that Khouzam will not be tortured.

"When we deal with this country and they make a commitment to us, they do what they say," said Douglas Ginsberg, a U.S. Department of Justice attorney. "Over the years, we know they can be relied upon despite their human rights record."

ACLU attorney Amrit Singh argued that government officials have offered "almost nothing" to prove the diplomatic assurances are reliable and that there is no monitoring mechanism in place to guarantee Khouzam's safety should he be returned to Egypt.

For the full articles, click here and here.


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