Australian Man Returns Home After 10 Months’ Unlawful Imprisonment in Egypt

An Australian man, Waled Youssef, has safely returned to Australia after spending 10 months unlawfully detained in Egypt. Mr. Youssef is now quarantining in a Sydney hotel and will be reunited with his family soon.

Mr. Youssef was arrested in January 2020 while on a holiday to visit his family in Egypt with his Australian wife and children during the school holidays. He was detained in the notorious Tora prison in Cairo – where he spent 10 months, thousands of miles away from his family in Australia – for allegedly pressing the “like” button on a Facebook post years ago. His family had grave concerns for his safety and their campaign for his release (#GetWaledHome) received widespread media coverage (see here and here) and was supported by Human Rights Watch.

After many months of domestic and international legal appeals, engaging with the Australian government and the Egyptian authorities, and United Nations experts, a court ordered his release on 14 October 2020 and Mr. Youssef was finally released from detention on 26 October 2020. The spurious charges against Mr. Youssef were dropped, but he still had to wait weeks for a flight back to Australia. He has recently arrived back in Sydney and will be reunited with his family once he has completed the coronavirus quarantine requirements.

Mr. Youssef’s family instructed international counsel Caoilfhionn Gallagher QC, Jennifer Robinson and Clare Duffy.  They advised and acted in relation to international law matters in the case, including filing urgent appeals with the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and three UN Special Rapporteurs calling for Mr. Youssef’s immediate release and return to Australia. They also engaged with the Australian government, including calling publicly upon the Australian government to take further action to ensure Mr. Youssef’s release in September, in the Sydney Morning Herald.

More detail is contained in today’s press release, here.