Egyptians living outside their homeland are subjected to various forms of the regime’s repression, starting with the restrictions on them obtaining official papers in their countries’ embassies, to spying on them and requesting their extradition. The severe repression that Egyptians have been subjected to since the military coup in 2013 has caused thousands to leave their homeland. Still, leaving their country did not save them from the oppression of al-Sisi and his regime.

Al-Sisi and his security services continued to pursue those who left Egypt, and the regime was able to recover some of the opponents after they were handed over by the countries to which they sought refuge, to find themselves returning to their homeland, but behind bars. Al-Sisi’s regime sought to pursue its opponents abroad and tried in various ways to restrict them and their movements.

The prosecutions took place through INTERPOL lists or the bilateral security agreements signed between Egypt and other countries, which resulted in the deportation of dozens of opponents abroad to Cairo, whether publicly or unannounced. During the past days, Sudan’s decision to withdraw the Sudanese nationality from the thousands of people who had obtained it in recent years raised fears Egyptian opponents would be handed over to al-Sisi’s regime. Jurists and politicians linked the decision to the Egyptian authorities’ request to hand over several dissidents who fled to Sudan following the 2013 military coup.

The Guardian revealed in November that the Egyptian authorities had arrested many opponents of the Sudanese transitional government headed by Abdullah Hamdok, especially from the people of Darfur and the Nuba Mountains. The newspaper quoted a source working with refugees in Cairo who said that the detainees were living in Egypt and were subjected to torture. Some of them were handed over to the Sudanese security forces. The newspaper pointed out that the Egyptian regime, in return, asked Sudan to deport dozens of Muslim Brotherhood leaders to Cairo.

Handing opponents over

In April, Middle East Eye reported that a group of Egyptian dissidents had been arrested by the Sudanese authorities and were at risk of being deported to Egypt. In the same context, human rights organisations and families of Egyptian detainees in Sudan have expressed their fear of Khartoum handing over the detainees to Cairo, especially as they are opposed to Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s regime. On the other hand, Egyptian opposition figures made it clear in media statements that most of the opponents of al-Sisi’s regime in Sudan had travelled towards Turkey after ousting former Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir.

According to pages and accounts interested in the affairs of detainees in Egypt, dozens of Egyptians residing in Sudan were arrested in March, following the visit of Lieutenant General Hemedti, Vice-Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereignty Council to Egypt. The arrests took place after Hamidati met with al-Sisi and Director of the General Intelligence Service, Major General Abbas Kamel, without the Sudanese authorities explaining the charges against the detainees or the reasons for their arrest.

During the past years, al-Sisi’s regime was able to get back dozens of Egyptian dissidents from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, and Kuwait. In February 2019, the Turkish government opened internal investigations after its authorities deported the young Egyptian Mohamed Abdel Hafiz Hussein, who had been sentenced to death, to his country. It is noteworthy that Article 3 of the Convention against Torture states that no state may expel any person or extradite him to another country if it has reasons to believe that he will be in danger of being subjected to torture.

Thousands of immigrants

It is estimated that thousands have left Egypt to escape al-Sisi’s oppression over the past years to Gulf and European countries, in addition to America, Canada, and East Asian countries. Perhaps it is noticeable that the sums of remittances of Egyptians abroad have increased to record numbers during the last period, as the numbers exceeded the income of tourism and the Suez Canal. The high remittances of Egyptians abroad in hard currency benefited the Egyptian economy. Observers interpreted it with the presence of thousands of Egyptian immigrants due to the political situation after the military coup.

The Egyptian authorities are trying to take back the Egyptian dissident Mohamed Ali, who has lived in Spain since 2018. His video clips sparked demonstrations against al-Sisi and his regime. According to the New York Times, al-Sisi’s regime has filed a lawsuit against Mohamed Ali in Madrid, on charges of tax evasion and money laundering, with demands for the Spanish authorities to extradite him. Among the methods of oppression pursued by al-Sisi’s regime against Egyptians abroad is the arrest of their relatives who are still in Egypt, to pressure them, which is what happened with the family of the dissident Mohamed Soltan, who is in America.