A group of Coptic Christian asylum-seekers is hoping a last-minute reprieve from the Home Affairs Department will prevent them from being deported to Egypt. Source: SBS News.
According to the Australian Coptic Movement, 10 out of a group of 29 asylum-seekers have had their claims for asylum rejected; they are expected to return to their homeland next week.
Ramez Abdallah Ramez and his wife Malaka Abdelmalak flew to Australia five years ago, as an uprising against the Egyptian government was threatening the safety of Coptic Christians.
As the attacks continued, the couple fought to remain in Melbourne with their two children. Now in their 70s with a long list of health issues, they are still facing imminent deportation.
“I want to live the rest of my life, what's left of my days, with peace of mind,” Mr Ramez said, wiping tears from his eyes. “I want to sleep at night. That's all I ask, nothing else.”
His wife also held grave fears if they were forced to return to Cairo.
“We've been here for five years,” she said. “If we go back, then what? They will kill us.”
Journalist Emad Ghobrial also fled Egypt after being assaulted for writing about Coptic persecution.
He said he didn't understand why the federal government wanted him to leave, after it had promised to protect Coptic Christians.
“I am very sad about this,” he said. “When I go back to Egypt, (the extremist groups) will attack me again. We are Coptic, we are suffering. I appeal to the Australian Government.”
During an interview with Sydney radio station 2GB last year, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton was adamant no true asylum-seeker would be sent back to his or her homeland.
“We're not going to deport anyone until we can have another look at each of the cases,” he said. “But in some cases, we do have concerns about the legitimacy of the claims made.”
In a statement to SBS, the Department of Home Affairs said assessments have been made “based on current country information and claims specific to each case.”