Sunday, June 3, 2007

Stop the Deportation of Sameh Khouzam!

We are foregoing our usual Weekly Commentary to ask you to take action on behalf of a personal friend.

Sameh Khouzam, an Egyptian national residing in the U.S., has been detained by U.S. immigration officials and is facing immediate (Thursday, June 7) deportation to Egypt. Sameh, a Coptic Christian, originally escaped from Egypt to flee religious persecution by government authorities. He has faced attacks by Egyptian officials, and has endured nearly a decade of prison time in the U.S.

A U.S. court had previously found that Sameh could not be deported to Egypt since it was "more likely than not" that he would be tortured there. Nevertheless, the U.S. has since accepted the Egyptian government's ludicrous assurances that it will not torture Sameh. To those who have followed the U.S. government's "extraordinary rendition" practices over the years, it is apparent that these assurances against torture are delivered with a wink. In many cases, Washington has deported victims because they know the detainee will be tortured and desire as much. There is widespread documentation by human rights groups that Egypt heavily engages in torture.

For more information about this case, please refer to, a letter from U.S. House Representative Joseph Pitts (R-PA), to Secretary of State CondoleezzaRice on behalf of Sameh, and articles from UPI, the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and Human Rights USA.

The contact information for relevant officials is included below, as well as suggested talking points and a sample letter (courtesy of that may be faxed. Given the immediacy of the situation at hand, officials must be called, faxed, and emailed; there is no time for letter-writing.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this serious matter. Please help us publicize this urgent case. You can send an email with a link to this post to your friends and acquaintances using the envelope symbol at the bottom.

Phone Call Talking Points:
-calling to ask that Sameh Khouzam not be deported on Thursday, June 7, as scheduled
-Sameh is an Egyptian who faces a serious threat of torture if he is deported there
-Sameh has committed no crime
-use your influence with the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to stop Sameh’s deportation and obtain his immediate release from DHS/ICE custody

Sample Letter to Officials

The Honorable Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Phone: 202-647-4000
Email form

Senator Arlen Specter
U.S. Senate - Pennsylvania
Via Fax No. (202) 224-8165
Phone: 202-224-4254
Email form

The Honorable Michael Chertoff
Office of the Secretary
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Phone: 202-282-8495

The Honorable Alberto Gonzales
Office of the Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
Phone: 202-353-1555

Contact Information for your Local Official

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