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  • Detained in Dubai

Egyptian-American political commentator freed from UAE custody, returns home

Egypt's extradition request of Sherif Osman fails

Following a high-profile campaign to secure the freedom of Egyptian-American Sherif Osman after his arrest in Dubai over his criticism of the Egyptian government, Detained in Dubai announced today that Osman has returned home to the United States.

The Egyptian-born US citizen was detained on holiday in the UAE last month over an extradition request by the Egyptian government because of his online criticisms of the regime of Abdel-Fatah El Sisi and his support for protests during the recent COP27 gathering in Sharm el-Sheikh. He was detained since early November and faced imminent deportation to Egypt where human rights activists feared his life would be in danger. “There is no doubt that Sherif would have faced serious risk of abuse in Egyptian custody,” explained Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, who led the campaign for Osman’s release.

His arrest was appalling,” She said, “Sherff was detained for social media content he published in the United States, under his constitutionally-protected right to free speech; yet he was arrested by the UAE, an American ally, with the objective of extraditing him to Egypt, another American ally; where he would have been thrown into a prison system notorious for abuse of political dissidents, and where one American had already lost his life in custody.

“We engaged not only the media and American consular officials on Sherif’s behalf, but also with his congressional representatives; urging the intervention of the US government to prevent his deportation and bring Sherif home. Dubai authorities were intent upon his extradition until his case garnered international attention, and we are extremely grateful for the diplomatic efforts the US undertook to secure his freedom once they became aware of Sherif’s plight.”