Repatriation of Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad al-Zery

Ahmed Agiza (Arabic: أحمد عجيزة‎) and Muhammad Alzery (Arabic: محمد الزيري‎) (also Elzari, el-Zary, etc.) were two Egyptian asylum-seekers who were deported to Egypt from Sweden on December 18, 2001, apparently following a request from the United States Central Intelligence Agency. The forced repatriation was criticised because of the danger of torture and ill treatment, and because the deportation decision was executed the same day without notifying the lawyers of the asylum seekers. The deportation was carried out by American and Egyptian personnel on Swedish ground, with Swedish servicemen apparently as passive onlookers.

Sweden had negotiated guarantees from Egypt, however, there are allegations that both men were tortured, but Sweden has been unable to prove or disprove these allegations, due to refusal by Egyptian authorities to allow proper investigations. Alzery was released without charges after two years in prison, but was not allowed to leave his village, nor could he speak to foreigners. Agiza was sentenced to 15 years in prison in a military tribunal. He was finally released from prison on August 9, 2011. Agiza told his story in a Swedish newspaper.

Both men had sought asylum in Sweden; Zery using a false passport. The security services of Sweden had recommended that the men's requests for asylum be denied on security grounds. The administration had obtained a statement from a high-ranking Egyptian government official stating that the men would be treated humanely and in accordance with the Egyptian constitution. On this basis, the government decided on their immediate deportation. The two men were arrested on the street, in one case, and in a telephone booth while talking with his lawyer, in the other, and they were driven to the airport within a few hours, and given over to a group of American and Egyptian personnel who flew them out of the country within minutes.

Agiza and al-Zery both alleged they had received electrical shocks to their genitals.

In the meantime, the lawyer who experienced the interrupted conversation called the Swedish foreign office to figure out what was going on, but could not find anyone who could tell. Instead, he was told that no decision had been reached. The Foreign office sent certified letters to the lawyers, but these arrived two days after the men were in Egyptian custody.

This haste circumvented all procedural rules and deprived the detainees and their lawyers of all opportunity to question the reasons, to verify the correctness of the information underlying the decisions, or to supply corrections or additional information. The men and their lawyers were never allowed to learn about the accusations against them on which the security services based their recommendation. For example, it appears that the government believed they had obtained a letter from the Egyptian authorities with clear promises of respecting the human rights of the men. When the letter was later disclosed, it turned out to promise only that they would be treated in accordance with Egypt's constitution and law. When Sweden later tried to do some follow-up on the issue, the agreement in the letter proved woefully inadequate. This could have been discovered before the deportation, quite independent of the different views of the actual danger the men posed to Sweden, and would almost certainly have been discovered had due process rules been observed.

This page was last edited on 9 April 2018, at 05:02.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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