Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

UNHCR raises concern about fate of 48 African refugees detained by Egypt

Concerns are being raised about 48 African refugees, mainly from Sudan, who were detained by Egyptian security forces over two months ago after being deported by Israel to Egypt, The Scotsman reported Monday.

According to the article, “at least five of the detainees were deported by Egypt back to Sudan, where they could face protracted imprisonment or the death penalty for having gone to Israel, the one country in the world to which Sudanese are forbidden to travel.” The Scotsman adds: “Another deportee was tortured before being released from Egyptian detention, according to an Egyptian legal source.”

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has confirmed that the persons expelled by Israel, have been unaccounted for since their arrest by Egyptian authorities on August 19.

“We’ve been requesting information about them and their whereabouts since August and we haven’t received anything,” said Peter Kessler, senior external affairs officer for UNHCR.

According to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, there was an understanding with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that the deportees would not be mistreated. Critics doubt that such an agreement exists though, and argue that Olmert violated international law by expelling the refugees into a dangerous situation.

A former detainee was reached by phone in Sudan by a relative in Israel this past weekend. She said that she had been in prison in Egypt for more than three weeks when she was deported.

For the full article, click here.


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