Egypt activist Ghada Naguib 'at risk of deportation' following detention by Turkish authorities

Egypt activist Ghada Naguib 'at risk of deportation' following detention by Turkish authorities
Ghada Naguib, an exiled activist, was detained in Istanbul on 2 October without charge and there are fears she may be deported back to Egypt.
2 min read
04 October, 2023
Ghada Naguib was arrested in Istanbul where she is exiled [Getty]

Exiled Egyptian activist Ghada Naguib was detained by Turkish security agents in Istanbul on Monday, sparking concerns about her possible deportation to Egypt where she could face jail and torture.

Naguib, 51, was at her home in the Basaksehir district of Istanbul, when Turkish plain-clothed security agents arrived and took her away with no reason made public about her arrest.

Naguib's son, Youssef Hisham, said he was speaking on the phone to his mother around midnight when she was detained in a "violent manner" with her hijab allegedly forcibly removed by agents. 

His mother was relocated to Malatya, in the Eastern Anatolia region of Turkey, where she is currently being held in a deportation centre for foreigners.

Hisham warned she could be sent back to Egypt at any time, where thousands of political prisoners are detained in terrible conditions. 

Naguib’s arrest coincides with Turkey and Egypt recently reinstating ambassadors to Ankara and Cairo, following years of tensions, although it is not clear if Naguib's detention is related to these developments.   

Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN) said that Turkish authorities should either charge or release Naguib and warned against her deportation to Egypt, where she would face "torture and persecution".

Sarah Lee Whitson, executive director of DAWN, said: "On the fifth anniversary of Jamal Khashoggi's murder, Ghada Naguib's arrest by the Turkish authorities deals yet another blow to peaceful democratic activism in exile. 

"The least that democracies and countries respecting the rule of law can do is to protect all people residing in their territories from the reach of tyrants like [President Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi."    

DAWN said a possible reason behind Naguib's arrest was that she allegedly refused to delete a tweet critical of the Egyptian government.

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The rights group said that political activists are protected under the international legal principle of non-refoulement. 

In 2015, Naguib fled to Turkey from Egypt alongside her husband, actor Hisham Abdullah, and their four children, following numerous threats by Egyptian authorities.  

Naguib was openly critical of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi and had previously taken part in the pro-democracy movement which ousted autocrat Hosni Mubarak in 2011.

In 2018, Egyptian authorities arrested Naguib’s two brothers on charges of "spreading fake news" while Naguib’s citizenship was revoked in 2020, leaving her stateless.