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Bahrain urged not to deport Egyptian dissidents arrested in Manama

Sayed Mohamed Mahmoud el-Agez and Muhammad al-Iraq Saad Hassanein could face torture if taken back to Cairo, rights group says
Fishing boats are pictured at the Muharraq island shoreline north of the Bahraini capital Manama on 20 December 2020 (AFP)
Fishing boats at the Muharraq island shoreline north of the Bahraini capital, Manama, on 20 December 2020 (AFP)

Campaigners fear Bahrain will deport two Egyptian opposition figures to Cairo after the Gulf kingdom arrested them in the capital, Manama, earlier this week. 

Sayed Mohamed Mahmoud el-Agez and Muhammad al-Iraq Saad Hassanein were detained on Wednesday despite committing no crime,  according to the Shahab Centre for Human Rights (SCHR), or El Shehab NGO. 

Both men are legal residents of Bahrain and hold valid residencies that let them live and work in the Gulf kingdom. Images of their ID cards were seen by Middle East Eye and confirm the validity of their residency permits. 

SCHR sent letters to senior UN officials urging them to intervene and call on Bahrain not to send the two men to Egypt. 

"We urgently implore you to intervene in this matter and ensure the protection of the rights of these individuals," SCHR said in a letter addressed to Volker Turk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 

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"We request your assistance in preventing their potential deportation to Egypt, where they may face inhumane conditions and the possibility of torture and enforced disappearance due to the political nature of their cases."

The families of both men told human rights groups that Bahrain arrested them after Egypt used Interpol to issue an arrest warrant against them, based on political reasons. 

The Bahrain embassy in London did not respond to MEE's questions by the time of publication. 

Agez, 59, is a businessman and father of eight children who has lived in Bahrain for the past eight years. He holds Turkish and Egyptian citizenship.

Hassanein, 45, is a computer engineer and a father of three.  

Egypt, which enjoys close ties with Bahrain, has been using Interpol red notices to target political opponents abroad since President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi seized power in a military coup in 2013. Red notices are requests for governments to find and provisionally arrest a person pending deportation or other legal action.

Sisi has presided over a brutal crackdown on dissent and opposition to his rule since.

At least 60,000 political prisoners are estimated to have been jailed in the last decade, according to human rights groups.

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