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American arrested in UAE facing deportation to Egypt

Sherif Osman, a US citizen who was arrested this month by UAE authorities, faces possible deportation to his native country of Egypt.

Osman was arrested because of a request “from an Arab League entity that coordinates among member states on law enforcement and national security”, The Wall Street Journal reported. According to that official, the UAE is working to secure legal documentation for his extradition.

Osman was born in Egypt, but hasn’t been in the country since before the 2011 uprising.

He is an outspoken supporter of protests against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He was arrested after he arrived in Dubai to visit his sister, a UAE resident, and his mother, who was visiting from Egypt. He was arrested by police outside his sister’s home, Middle East Eye reported earlier this month.

A former Egyptian army officer, Osman was one of three exiles who called for anti-government protests in Egypt on 11 November during the UN climate summit (Cop27), held in the resort city of Sharm el-Sheikh. The demonstration was also referred to as the 11/11 protest, in which nearly 1,000 people were detained in the ongoing crackdown against government critics in Egypt.

Rights groups estimate Egypt holds about 60,000 political prisoners. At least 4,500 political prisoners were detained without trial in one six-month period, many facing life-threatening conditions, The New York Times reported.

“Though he is being treated well now, Sherif’s life is in danger in Dubai detention, and if the US allows his extradition, we fear that his fate will be sealed,” Radha Stirling, a UAE legal expert, told the Jerusalem Post.

“Sherif’s extradition is certain unless the US takes a stand… This is almost a replay of the Saudi killing of Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey, except that Sherif is still alive, and the US has a chance to intervene before it is too late.””

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