Fiance of U.S. citizen detained in UAE fears he will be extradited to Egypt

DUBAI, Dec 4 (Reuters) – An Egyptian-American national detained while visiting the United Arab Emirates fears he will be extradited to Egypt for criticizing authorities there before the country hosts the COP27 climate conference this month past, her fiance said on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates, a close ally of Egypt, arrested Sherif Osman, who resides in the United States, on November 6 at the request of an Arab League entity tasked with coordinating law enforcement and security issues, an UAE official confirmed to Reuters on Thursday.

The official said Emirati authorities were working to secure “the necessary legal documentation to prepare the extradition file”, without specifying to which country or whether a specific extradition request had been made.

Also Read :  European markets slip, China eases pandemic measures

Osman’s fiance, Saija Virta, said he was arrested outside a restaurant in Dubai, where she was with him, and was told by prosecutors that Egypt had sought the arrest on charges including “speaking negatively against institutions governmental”.

Egyptian authorities have not issued a statement on the case, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, and did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The United States was aware of Osman’s detention in Dubai, a US State Department spokesman said Thursday, and was “monitoring his case closely and providing appropriate consular support.”

Also Read :  Wall St extends losses as recession worries mount, Apple drops

Osman had posted a YouTube video on October 31 criticizing Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and calling for peaceful protests in Egypt on November 11, when US President Joe Biden was attending the COP27 conference in Sharm The Sheikh.

“He (Osman) tells me that he is being treated well… (but) we are all very shocked and traumatized,” Virta, who is Finnish-American, told Reuters, saying she spoke to him on Sunday.

“I would like to ask for diplomatic intervention because … I don’t think I would get a fair trial in Egypt,” he said.

Osman’s fiance said he had traveled to the UAE with him to meet his sister, who lives in Dubai, and his mother who had planned a visit from Egypt.

Also Read :  China Covid: Beijing 'under-representing' true impact of outbreak, WHO says

Virta, who left Dubai on November 16 to return to work in the United States, said Osman had only been able to sign a power of attorney to access his file on Wednesday.

The UAE official had said the UAE “strictly adheres to all internationally accepted standards” in detention cases, including regular consular access and legal advice.

Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous and Aidan Lewis; Editing by Susan Fenton

Our standards: the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

Back to top button