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Startseite Urgent Actions 2023 09 Unjustly held Yemeni at risk of deportation
UA 087/23
Aktiv seit 7. September 2023 | Noch 35 Tage Laufzeit

Unjustly held Yemeni at risk of deportation

AI-Index: MDE 12/7173/2023

Yemeni asylum seeker, Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo, who has been arbitrary detained in Egypt for over 20 months, is at risk of deportation to Yemen, where his life would be at risk. Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo and his family were forced to flee Yemen for Egypt in 2014 after being subjected to violent attacks with impunity following his announcement of his conversion to Christianity on social media. Egyptian security forces arrested him on 15 December 2021 and forcibly disappeared him for two weeks, before bringing him for interrogations before a prosecutor, who ordered his pretrial detention pending investigations on bogus charges of «joining a terrorist group» and «defamation of the Islamic religion». He is held solely for exercising his rights to freedom of expression, conscience and belief and must be immediately released; any plans to deport him must be halted.


Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo fled Yemen in August 2014 for Egypt, where he registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). After he announced his conversion to Christianity on his social media platforms in 2013, he and his family who lived in a rural area outside Taiz, were subjected to a wave of violent attacks. Members of his family told Amnesty International that he was fired from his job, his car was damaged, and that in June 2014, his home was set on fire and his wife passed away as a result of this attack. In August 2014 he fled Yemen to Egypt with his four children.

On 23 June 2022, Egyptian human rights group, the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), warned of Abul-Baqi Saeed Abdo’s imminent deportation and called on the Egyptian authorities to stop his forced return and drop the charges against him.  On 30 June 2022, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression; the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants; the Special Rapporteur on minority issues and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief sent a letter to the Egyptian authorities highlighting the arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and unjust prosecution of Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo.

Religious minorities living in Egypt, including Christians, face entrenched discrimination in law and practice. The authorities have failed to protect Christians from repeated sectarian attacks and violence by armed groups targeting their communities since 2013 and to bring those responsible of using violence to justice in fair trials. Authorities also failed to protect Christians from attacks by armed groups in North Sinai or secure the safe return of hundreds of Christians who were forcibly displaced from North Sinai following violent attacks in 2017 or provide them with any compensation for lost property and livelihoods. Members of religious minorities and Muslims not espousing state-sanctioned religious beliefs have been subjected to arbitrary detention, prosecution and unjust imprisonment for «defamation of religion» and other bogus charges, while others are targeted simply for practicing their faith or defending the rights of religious minorities.

Egypt is party to both the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the Organization of African Unity (OAU) Refugee Convention; both require Egypt to provide international protection to refugees and to respect the principle of non-refoulement. According to a 1954 Memorandum of Understanding between Egypt and UNHCR, registration and refugee status determination in the country is delegated to UNHCR, while the Egyptian authorities are obliged to allow asylum seekers to meet with UNHCR representatives and to respect UNHCR’s assessments of their refugee status. Egyptian media reported on June 2023 that the authorities are seeking to expedite the adoption of a new asylum law. While the draft law has yet to be made public, reports indicate that under the proposal, all asylum seekers and refugees in the country would be required to register with the authorities and regularize their status within six months of the law’s executive regulations coming into force.

Egypt has an obligation not to return individuals to a situation where they would be at risk of persecution, torture or other serious human rights violations, including arbitrary deprivation of life. The principle of non-refoulement is recognized as a norm of customary international law and is enshrined in international instruments, including the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, to which Egypt is a state party.


Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.

  • Take action on Social media: Infos see the yellow field on the right.

  • Please take action before 2 November 2023.

  • Preferred language: Arabic, English. You can also write in your own language.

Model letter

Dear Minister,

I write to express my concern about the arbitrary detention of Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo, a 54-year-old Yemeni asylum seeker held in Al-Qanater 1 prison, north of Cairo, and at risk of deportation. Security forces arrested Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo from his home on 21 December 2021, and forcibly disappeared him for two weeks, during which time the authorities refused to provide his family with any information about his fate and whereabouts. He was subsequently brought in front of the Supreme State Security Prosecution (SSSP), where a prosecutor ordered his pre-trial detention pending investigations on charges of «joining a terrorist group with knowledge of its purposes» and «defamation of the Islamic religion». These charges are in connection to his conversion to Christianity, about which he regularly posted on his social media platforms since fleeing from Yemen to Egypt in 2014. Since his arrest in December 2021, his pretrial detention has been extended without providing him with an opportunity to meaningfully challenge the lawfulness of his detention.

In July 2022, the Egyptian authorities issued a deportation order for Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo. If forcibly returned to Yemen, he would be at risk of arbitrary detention, torture and other ill-treatment, and death including through the imposition of the death penalty or killing by armed groups or non-state agents. According to Article 259 of the Yemeni Republican Decree for Law No. 12 for 1994, Concerning Crimes and Penalties, «Anyone who turns back from or denounces the religion of Islam, is punished by the death penalty after being questioned for repentance three times and after giving him a respite of thirty days. Apostasy in public by speech or acts is considered contradictory to the principles of Islam and its pillars in intention and determination. If the intention or determination is not established and the guilty shows repentance, there will be no punishment». Given these provisions, and previous threats faced while in Yemen, Amnesty International's assessment is that his life would be at risk should he be deported to Yemen.

I urge you to immediately release Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo as his detention is linked solely to the exercise of his rights to freedom of expression, conscience and belief, and to halt any plans to deport him to Yemen, where he would be at real risk of persecution. Pending his release, he should be held in conditions meeting international standards for the treatment of prisoners, and granted immediate access to his family, lawyers and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Yours sincerely,


Appeals to

Minister of Interior Mahmoud Tawfiq
Ministry of Interior
25, El Sheikh Rihan Street
Bab al-Louk, Cairo

Fax: +202 2794 5529
Email: ;
Twitter: @moiegy


Additional target

President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi
Office of the President
Al Ittihadia Palace
Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt
Fax +202 2391 1441
Twitter: @AlsisiOfficial


Copies to

Botschaft der Arabischen Republik Ägypten
Elfenauweg 61
3006 Bern

Fax: 031 352 06 25
E-Mail: ; (




- - -

Letter delivery to other countries - General info:
It is possible to send PRIORITY letters to almost all countries.
Please check
on the Website of the Swiss Post, whether letters are currently being delivered to the destination country.
If not, we ask you to use other communication channels (email, fax or social media, if available) for the delivery of your appeal and/or send it via the embassy with the request for forwarding to the named person.

Response on your appeal/letter

It might be that you will receive a reply to your appeal letter. You do not have to answer to it by yourself, but we would be grateful if you would send us this letter. Ideally scanned by e-mail to We forward the replies to the relevant research team (via Amnesty's International Secretariat). The colleagues analyze the content and decide on how to proceed, which may be reflected in a Further information.

Incidentally, we do not fear any consequences for UA activists in Switzerland. However, it makes sense to consider not to wrtite a letter if you intend to travel to the country (or have family there). This applies above all to «problematic» and repressive countries. (Russia, Turkey, China, ...)

Social media

Suggested Tweet


#Egypt: Egyptian authorities must immediately release Yemeni national Abdul-Baqi Saeed Abdo who has been arbitrarily detained since December 2021 for exercising his rights to freedom of religion & expression.


They must also stop any plans to deport him to Yemen, where his life would be at risk & from where he fled after violent attacks due to his conversion to Christianity [Link to UA]

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