CAIRO (MEMO) – Human Rights Watch has called on the Egyptian authorities to reveal the whereabouts of 29-year-old Hossam Menoufy Sallam who was forcibly disappeared after his plane made an emergency landing in Luxor.
Sallam was travelling from Khartoum, where he was living in exile, to Istanbul in January when the plane made an emergency landing in Luxor because of a defective smoke alarm, Badr Airlines later said in a statement.
According to HRW, the passengers on board the flight went to the transit lounge whilst security forces summoned Sallam and two other Egyptians to check their passports and travel documents.
However, whilst the other two Egyptians returned to the transit lounge, that was the last time Sallam was seen. Sallam called a friend just before his arrest to say that authorities had made him sign a document to say he was in Egypt of his own free will.
Dissidents who are forcibly disappeared in Egypt regularly report being systematically tortured.
In March 2020 Sallam was sentenced in a mass trial in absentia to 25 years after being accused of being part of an assassination plot against the assistant prosecutor general Zakaria Abdul Aziz.
Sallam’s friends and family say he supported the Muslim Brotherhood, which has now been outlawed in Egypt and thousands of its members sentenced to jail time and tortured.
On Sunday, ten members of the Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death by an Egyptian court.
Sudanese authorities questioned Sallam at Khartoum International Airport for an hour, reported HRW. Two of his friends told HRW that he heard that the Egyptian government asked the Sudanese government to return him to Egypt.
Sudanese authorities have a history of detaining and torturing Egyptian dissidents and in 2020 at least nine were at risk of being deported.
On Sunday, protesters in Sudan blocked the road between Sudan and Egypt to demonstrate against the Egyptian government’s support for the military takeover in Sudan.