Yesterday, Egyptian authorities halted the deportation process of the Yemeni academic and diplomat Adel Al-Shuja’a. According to his family, the Egyptian authorities “requested the approval of the Spanish security services for his travel to Spain.” The family confirmed that “the Egyptian authorities have received all necessary approvals and that he is set to board a flight to Spain tomorrow morning, landing at Madrid airport.” The family also stated that Al-Shuja’a is still being detained at Al-Omraniya police station since the halting of his deportation and his return from Cairo airport the day prior.
The Refugees Platform in Egypt (RPE) has documented the proceedings of Adel Al- Shuja’a’s arrest and detention, where the Egyptian authorities arrested and detained him at 2 a.m. on September 18, 2023, and have held him in custody since. Security personnel arrived at his residence and asked for his personal passport, diplomatic passport, and residency permit then escorted him to Al-Omraniya police station. When his family went to visit him on the same day, the Chief of Detectives informed them that he would be brought before the Public Prosecution and then released to go home. On the following day, the family lawyer went to the Public Prosecution’s office where Al-Shuja’a was supposed to be presented but did not find his client there.
On the evening of the same day, the family went to the same police station, whose officials denied the presence of Al-Shuja’a, prompting the family to turn to the Yemeni Consular Office and demand it communicate with the police station to determine his whereabouts. Consulate officials, however, refused to cooperate in this matter and informed the family that this does not fall under the Consulate’s responsibilities. Near midnight, the family informally learned of Mr. Adel’s presence at the police station and was able to check on him.
According to the family’s lawyer, Mr. Adel was brought before the Public Prosecution on September 20, two days after his arrest, for questioning over a report filed against him by Moeen Abdul Malik, the Prime Minister of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council. In his report, the PM accused the academic Al-Shuja’a of slander and defamation based on the latter’s publication of a report on his Facebook account on September 17, in which he criticised the Yemeni government’s policies. After the conclusion of the investigation, the Public Prosecution ordered his release on bail of 50,00 EGP.
According to the RPE’s documentation, the family posted the required bail. However, he was not released upon his return to the police station, contrary to the release order issued by the Public Prosecution. Police officials informed them that he would be brought before the National Security Agency first, then before the General Department of Passports, Immigration, and Nationality on Saturday, September 23rd.
On Friday evening, September 22nd, his family went to visit him at the police station, only to be informed by the department officials that the “General Department of Passports had issued a decision to deport him to Aden.” The city houses the seat of power of the Presidential Leadership Council, whose PM accused Al-Shuja’a of slander and defamation based on an article he had written.
On Saturday, September 23rd, a police officer from the same department informed the family that the Public Prosecution had issued a ruling approving the General Department of Passports, Immigration, and Nationality’s order of deporting Al-Shuja’a to Aden, despite the family’s knowledge that he had not been transferred from the police station and had not been personally presented to the Public Prosecution. The family’s lawyer stated that the Egyptian authorities insisted on retaining Al-Shuja’a diplomatic passport and only returned his personal one.
The RPE had reviewed two official documents issued in the form of formal letters from the Yemeni Ambassador to Cairo, Mohamed Marem, addressed to the National Security Agency (NSA) in Giza. The first, dated September 23rd, 2023, detailed the ambassador’s concerns regarding the risk of deportation on the lives of the citizen Adel Al-Shuja’a and his family, urging for his release. The second, sent the following day, on September 24th, was a follow-up on the first letter, urging against his deportation to Yemen and, in the event of his release being unfeasible, requesting the facilitation of his travel to Spain, where he holds residency. The embassy emphasized in its second letter, signed by the Yemeni Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Egypt, the high risk to his and his family’s lives in case of deportation.
According to a copy of another document obtained by the RPE, which is a letter from Dr. Ahmed Awad Bin Mubarak, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates in the Presidential Leadership Council’s government, addressed to Ambassador Mohamed Marem on September 25th, 2023. In this letter, Dr. Bin Mubarak informs him of the President of the Presidential Council’s decision regarding the end of his tenure as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Arab Republic of Egypt. Moreover, he requests that he notify the relevant authorities in Egypt of the decision and commence the customary farewell procedures.
On the morning of Tuesday, September 23rd, the family was informed of the transfer of the academic to Cairo Airport for his departure to Spain. However, he, along with his family and lawyer, were surprised by an attempt to deport him to Aden, which the family vehemently rejected. They issued a statement once again emphasizing the danger of his deportation among the support of many human rights advocates and groups.
The deportation process came to a halt, and he was returned to Al-Omraniya police station. According to the family, the pressure exerted underscored to the Egyptian authorities the risk the academic Adel Al-Shuja’a faces if forcibly deported to Yemen.
The Egyptian authorities requested authorization from the Spanish security services regarding the travel of the Al-Shuja’a to Spain. It is worth noting that Al- Shuja’a holds a diplomatic passport and a valid residency permit in Spain. Moreover, he is not accused of any crimes in Spain, and the only case he was charged with in Egypt has been dismissed by the Egyptian Public Prosecution. The family confirms that the necessary authorizations for his travel are not in the possession of the Egyptian authorities. Moreover, security officials assured the family that the academic, who is still detained at Al-Omraniya police station, would be allowed to travel. Diplomatic sources have also confirmed that Al-Shuja’a’s travel to Madrid is scheduled for tomorrow morning.
On a related note, an official source from the Yemeni Presidency’s office denied this morning any involvement in the attempt to deport Adel Al-Shuja’a to Aden, stating that “the deportation proceedings are under the procedures of Egyptian law,’ adding that the Presidency supports Al-Shuja’a’s request to be transferred to a third country.