Agiza v. Sweden
United Nations Committee against Torture
Comm. No. 233/2003, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/34/D/233/2003 (2005)
Ahmed Hussein Mustafa Kamil Agiza (plaintiff) was an Egyptian national who was accused of being a leader of a terrorist organization. Agiza fled Egypt. Nevertheless, Agiza was tried and convicted in absentia of belonging to a terrorist group by a military court along with 100 other people and sentenced to 25 years in prison with no ability for appeal. Agiza applied for asylum in Sweden (defendant). Because Agiza was deemed a threat to national security, his case was referred to the highest levels of the Swedish government. It was known that Egypt had a pattern of torturing detainees, especially relating to security issues. Therefore, a Swedish official met with Egyptian officials in Cairo, requesting and receiving diplomatic assurances that Agiza would receive a fair trial and not be mistreated or sentenced to death. Then the Swedish government decided to expel Agiza and deported him the same day, with no possibility for review. The United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) offered Sweden an airplane to facilitate Agiza’s trip to Egypt. Masked American officials were then allowed to perform a security check on Agiza prior to boarding with no intervention by the Swedish security police. The security check included removing Agiza’s clothes with scissors, searching his body, allegedly inserting a tranquilizer into his rectum, clothing him in overalls with a loose hood, and binding his hands and feet. Agiza was strapped to a mattress, a position in which he remained for the duration of the trip to Egypt. Swedish officials met with Agiza in prison around once per month to monitor his treatment. Agiza allegedly never exhibited signs of mistreatment or disclosed that he was treated inhumanely and tortured with electrical shocks until after a year of imprisonment. Agiza filed a complaint with the Committee against Torture. Thereafter, Swedish media focused on Agiza’s case, prompting the Swedish parliament to investigate whether Agiza’s deportation violated Article 3 of the Convention against Torture, given what Sweden knew at the time of deportation.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
Concurrence/Dissent (Yakovlev, J.)
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