Sameh Khouzam granted stay of deportation

The Institute on Religion and Democracy | July 18, 2007

I want to thank all of you who responded so quickly and signed our Petition to Save Sameh Khouzam!

Your voices have been heard!

In large part thanks to your timely signatures and the efforts of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, Sameh Khouzam has been granted an indefinite stay of deportation! He can now stay in the United States and no longer has to fear the torture and even possible death that certainly would have awaited him upon arrival in his native Egypt.

I believe that your overwhelming support of Khouzam, a Coptic Christian, calling for him not to be returned to a regime with a history of brutality toward minority religions, helped sway the Middle District Court of Pennsylvania make a just and right decision.

As I wrote to you before, Mr. Khouzam left Egypt in 1998 under intense pressure to change his religion. He was detained by the Egyptian government and forcefully “encouraged” to convert from his Coptic Christianity to Islam. He escaped Egypt and fled to America–fearing for his life. After his departure, the Egyptian government informed United States officials that Mr. Khouzam was wanted for completely unsubstantiated crimes against a Muslim family. The United States intended to deport him.

In its ruling on Friday, June 15, however, the court stated, “The protection against torture on which the principle of non-return rests is a fundamental right that is important to the rule of law and essential to a democratic society.”

I do not believe this decision would have been possible without the help of the thousands of you who decided to take a stand for religious freedom and against the persecution of religious minorities.

Please know the Institute on Religion and Public Policy remains firmly committed to protecting the fundamental right of religious freedom and will inform you whenever we see that right threatened or violated.

Thank you again! You played a significant role in saving Sameh Khouzam from certain torture and possible death!

Joseph Grieboski
President
Institute on Religion and Public Policy

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