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Federal court urged to block deportation of detainees to countries with torture record

[JURIST] The United States should not deport foreign detainees back to their home countries if there is reason to believe they will face torture [JURIST news archive], American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) lawyers argued [press release] Thursday. Appearing before the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, lawyers representing Sameh Khouzam [ACLU materials], an Egyptian Christian who fled to the United States in 1998 to reportedly escape religious persecution, argued that the US government is not abiding by its obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture [text] by relying on assurances from the Egyptian government that Khouzam will not be tortured if he is returned to authorities in Egypt [JURIST news archive]. Khouzam originally came to the United States seeking asylum, but was detained by US authorities based on claims by Egyptian authorities that he is a murder suspect in his home country.

Khouzam's case marks the first time a US court may address whether the government can lawfully rely on assurances from foreign governments to deport detainees [JURIST news archive] to countries with a record of engaging in torture. Reuters has more.

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