Forgotten in jail in Cairo for 7 and 9 years: the incredible story of the two Eritrean citizens who now risk deportation

Forgotten in jail in Cairo for 7 and 9 years: the incredible story of the two Eritrean citizens who now risk deportation
Forgotten in jail in Cairo for 7 and 9 years: the incredible story of the two Eritrean citizens who now risk deportation

It is as if they have forgotten about them. The story of Alem Tesfay Abraham, 42 years old, e Kibrom Adhanom, 37, is truly unbelievable: after 7 and 9 years of unjust detention in a prison in Cairo, they are being deported to their country of origin where they risk one Death penalty for desertion from military service. As in a mocking game of the goose, the two risk returning to the origin of their journey of hope, which failed miserably and turned into a nightmare. The quotation mark could be ironically – although there is little to be ironic about this story – attributed toEgyptian establishment, guilty and participant in two human dramas. Abraham and Adhanom are nationals eritrea, between 2012 and 2014 they were arrested and thrown into a prison on charges of clandestine immigration: “Usually, in Egypt, illegals, once arrested, are presented before a military court, sentenced with suspended sentences and then released, having the possibility of request asylum. A long and often unsuccessful procedure, but which at least allows them to return to freedom and have chances. THE two Eritreans they have not even been tried, the doors of a cell in the prison have opened for them Qanater (where the women’s prison is also located, ed.), foreigners section, and since then they have been rotting in there ”. Speaking is a lawyer from Cairo who has been following the affair of the two Eritreans for some months on a mandate from the community eritrea in Cairo. The lawyer prefers to keep theanonymity: “The two men simply were forgotten by the authorities, but also by the large international organizations for the protection of human rights, starting from United Nations; little or nothing has been done “.

To understand the story of the two you have to go back to the beginning of theirs nightmare. Alem Tesfay, after having undertaken the usual, infinite journey from Horn of Africa across the Sudan and Egypt was stopped as it was trying to cross the confine Libyan. It was March 2012 and at that time his detention in Qanater began. More dramatic is the story of Kibrom, kidnapped by a gang of traffickers of human beings, brought in Sinai, wounded and abandoned as no longer useful to his captors. It happened in late 2013, a few months after he was rescued and arrested for immigration irregular, the 37-year-old ended up in the Cairo prison. And here comes the institutional confusion in the country of the post-revolutionary pharaohs a piazza Tahrir of January 2011. Between 2012 and 2014, the years in which the unjust detentions of the two Eritreans begin, actually everything happens in Egypt: from the victory of the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Morsi, in the 2012 elections until the coup d’etat of July 2013 orchestrated by the former defense minister Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, then the winner of the 2014 presidential elections with ‘Bulgarian’ percentages. When the country realigns itself following the course imposed by the new president, everyone forgets Alem Tesfay and Kibrom, for many, too many years. Until last summer when one of the legal networks that deals with the protection of human rights becomes aware of the case.

According to the lawyer there are some defaults and sharing of responsibility: “The Egyptian authorities, but also the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Unhcr, ed.), aware of the cases for some time, had to allow the two Eritreans to register, at least they would not have spent more months and years in prison and above all now they would not risk the deportation. The immigration department and the passport office deny any information about it, except that the two detainees are awaiting expulsion. All in violation of international conventions against forced deportations. Abraham and Adhanom risk their lives if they are sent back to Eritrea, the regime in that country is very harsh and severely punishes the desertion. The signature on the document that triggers their deportation? Extorted with violence, the two were threatened and forced to write their names ”. In the years in which the two men fled, the conflict twenty years with the neighbor Ethiopia, officially concluded in 2018. Deserting military service is equivalent to safe condemnation. Now it is a course against time to avoid the insult after the damage suffered by the two Eritrean citizens, guilty only of wanting to escape from a country where it does not exist freedom. Large international organizations, including the same Amnesty International, are taking action to save the life of Alem Tesfay and Kibrom.

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