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Sudan: Egyptian dissident detained en route to Turkey

Rights group tells Middle East Eye the man was 'forcibly disappeared' after his detention at a visa office in Khartoum
Wadah al-Oden had obtained a visa to travel to Turkey with his family, but he was arrested while applying for a routine travel permit (Supplied)

Sudanese authorities detained an Egyptian dissident while he was applying for a permit to leave the country, a rights group told Middle East Eye.

Wadah Hisham Nour El-Din Abdullah al-Oden, 32, was detained on 16 March after requesting official permission to travel to Turkey from the foreign ministry. He had already received a visa to travel to Turkey with his family.

His whereabouts remain unconfirmed, and he has lost contact with his family, according to the Egyptian Network for Human Rights (ENHR).

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But the family told the ENHR that it heard from some sources on Monday that he was inside the headquarters of the Sudanese security apparatus, and expressed fears that he would be subjected to torture and deportation to Egypt. 

The incident comes two months after Hossam Sallam, another Egyptian opposition activist, was arrested in Luxor after his plane was forced to undertake an emergency landing while en route from Sudan to Turkey. 

Many Egyptian dissidents sought refuge in Sudan after the 2013 military coup that removed late president Mohamed Morsi from power. The coup was led by General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who is now president, and is an ally of Sudan’s current military leaders. 

Morsi was a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and many of those who fled to neighbouring Sudan were members or supporters of the opposition group.

“He was arrested on the pretext of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood,” Ahmed Attar, a researcher at the ENHR, told MEE.

Crackdown on dissent

Al-Oden, a father of two, has held an official residence permit in Sudan for two years. He hails from the Gharbia governorate in Egypt’s Nile Delta, but he fled to Sudan for fear of persecution, Attar explained.

He added that dozens of Egyptian nationals have been detained in Sudan in recent years and handed over to Cairo on the pretext of their affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood.

“The Egyptian Network for Human Rights calls on the Sudanese authorities not to deport the Egyptian citizen Wadah to Egypt and to bear full responsibility for his life and security,” Attar said.

Sisi has been accused by Human Rights Watch of holding at least 60,000 political prisoners since he came to power in 2013. 

The group said that the former army general has overseen the worst crackdown on human rights in the country's modern history.

In the group's World Report 2022, it said Egypt’s security forces have regularly acted with impunity, routinely conducting arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, and torture of real or suspected political activists as well as ordinary citizens. 

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