Recognition of the corruption of the Egyptian police and lack of State protection

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
23 June 2023

We represented successfully in an appeal a Coptic husband and wife from Egypt. The couple has been subjected to threats and violence attacks at the hands of the members of the Muslim brotherhood, in particular one individual. In 2020 the Appellant paid money to the Muslim brotherhood in exchange for an agreement that the brotherhood would stop threats and violence towards them. Later on, the couple travelled to the UK for a holiday, when they learned that despite a payment, the Muslim brotherhood had attacked one of their parents’ house and caused them physical injuries. They believe that they will be killed if they return to Egypt and/or that the wife and the child will be kidnapped, harmed or killed. They claimed asylum and the Home Office refused their application in 2022. Whilst the Respondent accepted the account of events in Egypt, she asserted that there are no risks for them on return because of the protection of the Egyptian State or because they can safely and reasonably relocate within Egypt. In order to succeed in an asylum appeal the Appellants had to show that they had a well-founded fear of persecution for a conventional reason, but also that there will be no protection from persecution by the State or any party or organisation controlling the State. The Tribunal also is required to consider whether it will be reasonable to expect an appellant to relocate within their country of nationality or whether this would be unduly harsh. We have submitted a country expert report showing that the Egyptian police cannot be relied upon to protect the Appellant and his family. Our expert was Mr Miles (who is a journalist and author who writes about contemporary Egyptian culture and affairs). He is a long-term resident of Egypt. Through his opinion corruption in the Egyptian police is a common affair. It became obvious that the Egyptian police could not offer protection to our client The Secretary of State appeared to fail to recognise the very personal factors that put the Appellant and his family at greater risk that ordinary Coptic Christians.

It was established that the Egyptian police are unwilling to provide the sufficient protection. In relation to the question of internal relocation, the judge found that it is reasonably likely that the Muslim brotherhood and their associates would eventually find out the Appellants had(?) they returned to Egypt. Christians account for 10% of the Egyptian population and the Appellants had Christian names and their day-to-day behaviour and western attitudes would stand out. Though they may keep a low profile, the court accepted that it would only take one ill thought-out post on social media, made by a friend or family member, for their return to the country to become public knowledge. It was the expert’s view that the Muslim brotherhood person would be able to find the Appellants by gaining corrupt access to an Egyptian national database by which their details could be found. Such corrupt access may be obtained by anyone with connections to the police or security services. Whilst the court treated Mr Miles’ report with some caution, this part of the report was supported, and it was not disputed that the Egyptian State operates a system of registration and that Egyptian nationals are required to register when they rent property or send a child to school. Taking the evidence in the round, the court found it reasonably likely that the Muslim brotherhood would be able to obtain access to information about the Appellant’s whereabouts in Egypt and internal relocation would not be safe. Another victory!!