Political commentator Sherif Osman facing extradition from UAE to Egypt after calling for protests during COP27

Political commentator Sherif Osman facing extradition from UAE to Egypt after calling for protests during COP27

Sherif Osman is a U.S.-Egyptian political commentator who was arrested in Dubai, on November 6, 2022, during a family visit to the United Arab Emirates. He was arrested on the basis of a red notice issued by INTERPOL at Egypt’s request. His arrest is likely due to a video he had posted on his YouTube channel in which he called for a peaceful protest during the visit of U.S. President to Egypt to attend COP27. He is facing deportation to Egypt where there are substantial grounds for believing that he would be subjected to torture.

Sherif Osman is a former Egyptian army officer who has been an outspoken critic of the Egyptian regime, including on his YouTube channel.

On October 31, 2022, Osman posted a video on his YouTube channel calling for peaceful protests on November 11, during the visit of U.S. President Joe Biden to Egypt during COP27, commonly referred to as the “11/11 protest”.

On November 4, 2022, Osman arrived in Dubai for a family visit. Two days later, on November 6, he was outside a restaurant when two men dressed in civilian clothes and driving a black car approached him and asked him to follow them. After they abducted him, his family enquired with various authorities. Six hours later, they were informed that he was detained at the Police Headquarters in Dubai. On November 8, he was transferred to Dubai Central Prison, where he remains detained to date.

On November 8, he was brought before the Public Prosecutor, who informed him that he was arrested on the basis of a red notice issued by INTERPOL at Egypt’s request. The Prosecutor vaguely referred to Osman’s videos dating back to 2019.

According to the U.S. consulate, he is held due to speaking negatively against [Egyptian] government institutions. However, as he had already been travelling to Dubai in 2020 and never faced arrest, there is reason to believe that the timing of his arrest is in reprisal for posting his video about COP27.

To date, he remains in detention in Dubai Central Prison and is at risk of deportation to Egypt.

As there are reasonable grounds to believe that the red notice might result from Osman’s exercise of the rights and freedoms contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), MENA Rights Group asked the Commission for the control of INTERPOL’s Files to cancel the red notice against Osman on November 18, 2022.

On November 21, 2022, MENA Rights Group requested the intervention of the Special Rapporteur against torture, asking her to intervene urgently with the Emirati authorities to urge them not to extradite Osman to Egypt and to release him immediately. An extradition would constitute a violation of the principle of non-refoulement enshrined under article 3 of the Convention against Torture, to which the UAE is a party.

Timeline

November 21, 2022: MENA Rights Group requests the urgent intervention of the UN Special Rapporteur on torture.
November 18, 2022: MENA Rights group seizes the Commission for the control of INTERPOL’s Files.
November 6, 2022: Osman is arrested in Dubai.
October 31, 2022: Osman posts a video on his YouTube channel calling for protests during COP27.

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