The Egyptian initiative warns against deporting a Yemeni asylum seeker to his country because of his declaration of his conversion to Christianity, and expresses its fears that he will be in grave danger
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) warns of the imminent forcible deportation of Yemeni asylum-seeker Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo, who is in pretrial detention pending Supreme State Security case No. 2993 of 2021, on charges of: “joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its purposes, and contempt of the Islamic religion.” This arrest and imprisonment come against the backdrop of Abdel-Baqi's announcement on social media of his conversion to Christianity, which took place in 2013, before his arrival to Egypt.
Security forces had arrested Abdul-Baqi Saeed, 52 years, from his home in the Faisal area on December 15, 2021, at 2:00 A. M., after searching his home and seizing three laptops. He was then referred to the Supreme State Security Prosecution, which investigated him on December 23, after he was detained for eight days.
Abdul-Baqi Saeed had obtained an asylum application registration card from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees No. 55-15C04744, on June 29, 2015, the date of his registration at the office, and he was issued a card, still in his possession, on January 22, 2020.
EIPR said that Egypt is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, which prohibits the forcible expulsion or return of refugees in accordance with Article 33, which states that “no state party may expel or return a refugee in any way to the borders of the regions where his life or freedom would be threatened because of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinions.”
The principle of non-refoulement under international law also ensures that no one is to be returned to a country where they would be at risk of persecution, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or other irreparable harm.
EIPR anticipates the grave danger if the deportation of Abdel-Baqi Saeed Abdo to Yemen is carried out, considering the unknown fate awaiting him there. Saeed came to Egypt seeking asylum after being subjected to an attempted murder in his country, from which he escaped, and after the actual murder of his wife, following his and his family’s conversion to Christianity.
This comes after a group of Special Rapporteurs condemned, last April, the mass deportations and expulsions of refugees from Eritrea, in violation of Egypt's international obligations in "international human rights law" and the Egyptian Constitution itself, which stipulates in Article 91 that "the state grants political asylum to every foreigner who has been persecuted for defending peoples' interests, human rights, peace, or justice. The extradition of political refugees is prohibited, all according to the law."
EIPR calls on the Egyptian authorities to stop the process of deporting Abdel-Baqi Saeed and calls for his release and dropping of all charges against him.