Egyptian authorities urge US to return of Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman to Egypt

Action Alert

From the Islamic Human Rights Commission

12 May 2011

On 3rd May, 2011, the Egyptian authorities have made an official request to the US administration for them to return Sheikh Abdulrahman to his native Egypt. Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman has been imprisoned in solitary confinement in the US prisons for 18 years. He has repeatedly requested to be returned to Egypt so that he can spend the rest of his life there.

IHRC requests that its campaigners send letters to the UN High Commissioner, the UN Special Rapporteur on Heath, and the Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention.

Background

Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman, a 73 year old religious scholar from the prestigious al-Azhar institute in Egypt, was convicted in 1995 for the 1993 New York World Trade Centre bombing and other New York attack plans. He was tried under Sedition Laws, last used during the American Civil War, two centuries ago. There is a high chance that he may die soon, and his family have requested for him to be able to spend his last moments with them in Egypt.

The Egyptian authorities have made an official request to the US administration for them to return Sheikh Abdulrahman to his native Egypt.

The Grand Imam of al-Azhar institute Dr Ahmed al-Tayeb has written a statement to the US Ambassador in Cairo, Margaret Scobey, in which he called for the return of the Sheikh.

The family of Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman has last week submitted a request to the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. His case has prompted demonstrations in Egypt, UK, Denmark and other countries around the world.

The US Administration has not responded to the request of the family or to the official request of the Egyptian government. We therefore urge you to write to the UN to take action for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman and impose pressure on the US to provide him compensation for the long years he spent in solitary confinement.

Action required

IHRC urges all of its campaigners to help ensure that Sheikh Abdulrahman is returned safely to Egypt. Write to the UN High Commissioner, UN Special Rapporteur on Heath and Special Rapporteur on Arbitrary Detention; urging them to investigate his case and call upon the US to return him to Egypt.
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Sample letter

A sample letter is given below for your convenience. Please note that model letters can be sent directly or adjusted as necessary to include further details. If you receive a reply to the letter you send, we request you to send a copy of the letter you sent and the reply you received to IHRC. This is very important as it helps IHRC to monitor the situation with regards to our campaigns and to improve upon the current model letters. It is preferable that letters be sent via post, or otherwise by fax and/or email.

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Ms. Navanethem Pillay is UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, an email can be
sent to:
InfoDesk [at] ohchr [dot] org

[Your name]
[Your address]

Ms. Navanethem Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR),
Palais Wilson,
52 rue des Pâquis,
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland.
Telephone: +41 22 917 9220

[Date]

Dear Ms. Pillay

Re: Call for the safe return of Sheikh Omar Abdulrahman to Egypt

I am deeply concerned about the health and detention of Sheikh Omar Abdulrhman, a blind 73 year-old religious scholar that has been imprisoned under solitary confinement for 18 years, and denied his visitation rights.

The Egyptian Authorities have recently addressed the US Administration, calling for his immediate return to his native Egypt, where he would serve the rest of his sentence. His family have also submitted requests to the US Ambassador to Egypt, which urges the US administration to fulfil this request.

Sheikh Omar Abdulrhman was arrested in 1995 for the 1993 New York World Trade Centre bombing and other New York attack plans. He was tried under Sedition Laws, last used during the Civil War, two centuries ago.

The status of his health has deteriorated considerably over the years, and the Sheikh now requires extensive special care. There is a significant chance that he may die soon, and his family have requested for him to be able to spend his last moments with them in Egypt.

Sheikh Abdulrahman has protested about the conditions he has been forced to endure during his time at the Butner Federal Correctional Institution, North Carolina. His family have spoken out against the way in which he has been denied the basic rights that other prisoners enjoy, such as visitation, correspondence and even being able to communicate with other prisoners.

I urge you to investigate the case of Sheikh Abdulrahman, and call for his transferral to Egypt. His treatment at the Butner Federal Correctional Institution, North Carolina, should also be further investigated and he should be compensated for the long years he spent in solitary confinement.

I look forward to your reply regarding this urgent matter.

Yours sincerely,


[Your signature]
[Your name]
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Additional sample letters to other U.N. officials, as well as the complete report on Egypt’s request can be seen here:

http://www.ihrc.org.uk/activities/alerts/9680-egyptian-authorities-urge-us-to-return-of-sheikh-omar-abdulrahman-to-egypt

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
Wembley
HA9 7XH
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
Fax (+44) 20 8904 5183
Email: info [at] ihrc [dot] org
Web: www.ihrc.org

The IHRC is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social
Council of the United Nations.

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