The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Turkish deportation of Egyptian asylum-seeker sparks concerns for dissidents Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Turkish deportation of Egyptian asylum-seeker sparks concerns for dissidents

The Turkish government has given refuge to scores of members of the Muslim Brotherhood [Twitter]

Date of publication: 6 February, 2019

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
The deportation of an Egyptian political asylum seeker and alleged member of the Muslim Brotherhood from Turkey has sparked outrage from dissidents and a police investigation in Istanbul.
The deportation of an Egyptian political asylum seeker and alleged member of the Muslim Brotherhood from Turkey has sparked outrage from dissidents and a police investigation in Istanbul.

Mohammed Abdel Hafiz, who has been sentenced to death in Egypt, was forced onto a plane to Cairo on 18 January after he landed at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport.

Abdel Hafiz had travelled to Turkey from Somalia in hopes of seeking refuge but instead found himself effectively sent to his death.

An image reportedly showing the 28-year-old bound and appearing distressed on a plane to Cairo has gained traction online this week and prompted widespread criticism of the forced repatriation.

On Tuesday, authorities in Istanbul issued a statement saying that eight police officers have been sacked and an investigation had been opened into the incident.

The New Arab has contacted the Turkish Embassy in London for comment and has yet to receive a response.

The Turkish government has given refuge to scores of members of the Muslim Brotherhood who fled Egypt in the wake of a 2013 military coup against Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

Egyptian journalist in exile Abdurrahman Ezz, who has himself been sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Cairo court over what rights groups say are trumped up charges, harshly criticised the deportation of Abdel Hafiz.

"Abdel Hafiz was running away from the corrupt, politicised Egyptian judiciary system," Ezz told The New Arab.

"Until this moment I cannot believe this brutal decision to deport him. The clear policy of Turkish authorities has been that they do not deport anyone if they are sentenced to death by the Egyptian military coup authorities," in reference to the regime of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

"As Egyptian political activists we need to know why this has happened and the results of the investigation. I think there was a problem in communication with the Turkish authorities,"

"Abdel Hafiz is no less important than Jamal Khashoggi," Ezz added, referring to the Saudi journalist murdered in the kingdom's Istanbul mission last year.

The move has also been widely criticised online by Egyptian opposition figures usually supportive of Ankara.

Officials in Egypt say Abdel Hafiz sentenced to death in absentia in July 2017 following his conviction along with others for the 2015 assassination of Egypt's chief prosecutor.

Egyptian courts have sentenced hundreds of alleged Brotherhood members to death in speedy mass trails since the ousting of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt's first democratically elected president.

Rights groups and the United Nations have described the trials as "irreversible miscarriages of justice" and a "mockery of due process".

The case is the first known extradition of an alleged Brotherhood member from Turkey to Egypt.

Abdel Hafiz's current whereabouts are unknown but he is thought to be imprisoned in Egypt, where he will likely face a new trial over the same accusations.

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More