UAE to deport Egyptian-American who called for COP27 protest in Egypt
Sherif Osman was arrested in Dubai where he was visiting family. COP27 went on from 6 to 20 November, and Egyptian authorities tried to keep activists away from the global event through threats and force.
1/ HRF, along with 23 organizations, has signed a letter urging United Arab Emirates officials to immediately release an outspoken critic of Egypt’s regime, Sherif Osman, currently detained in Dubai.— Human Rights Foundation (@HRF) December 19, 2022
Read the letter: https://t.co/wCllMKT9Gg pic.twitter.com/OZgsTWae0h
The officials "didn’t present an arrest warrant or explain to him or his distraught family the reason for his arrest, and he was taken away in an unmarked car", said Amnesty International.
"A month later, Emirati officials told his lawyer that they had acted in response to a request from Egypt."
Osman had posted a YouTube video on 31 October criticising Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and calling for peaceful protests in Egypt on 11 November, when US President Joe Biden was attending the conference.
Large anti-government demonstrations were planned in Egypt for 11 November but did not happen as expected, due to threats from the authorities and mass arrests, according to Egyptian rights groups.
Emirati officials declined to clarify whether Osman would be extradited to Egypt or the US where he has lived for decades.
Rights groups fear that he could be subjected to torture and abuse if he is sent back to Egypt, notorious for its poor human rights record.
"There are growing concerns that the UAE will repeat the restrictions on civic space and protests seen at COP27," said Amnesty International. The UAE, a political ally and financial backer of Egypt, is expected to host the COP28 climate conference in 2023.
Twitter users have continued to call for Osman's release under the hashtag "Free Sherif Osman".