Khouzam v. Chertoff, et al. (amicus) Historic Case

At a Glance

Date Filed: 

April 22, 2008

Current Status 

The case is pending before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

Case Description 

In Khouzam v. Chertoff, et al., Egyptian citizen and Pennsylvania resident Sameh Sami S. Khouzam is challenging his removal to Egypt, where he feared he would be tortured. CCR filed an amicus brief in support of his case, highlighting the fact that diplomatic assurances from the Egyptian government do not provide a safeguard against torture.

On April 22, 2008, CCR joined other human rights organizations in filing an amicus curiae brief in support of Sameh Sami S. Khouzam in Khouzam v. Chertoff, et al., a case before the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Khouzam, an Egyptian citizen in Pennsylvania, sought to prevent his removal to Egypt where he feared he would be tortured. The district court found that he had a right under the Convention Against Torture and the Fifth Amendment due process clause to challenge diplomatic assurances from Egypt that he would not be tortured. The U.S. government is attempting to use the diplomatic assurances to justify its effort to remove Mr. Khouzam to Egypt, despite Egypt’s long history of gross human rights violations, evidence that Mr. Khouzam had been tortured there in the past, and prior breaches of similar diplomatic assurances. CCR and others argued that the Court of Appeals should affirm the district court’s decision because diplomatic assurances are unreliable and do not provide a safeguard against torture, especially from governments that routinely torture, such as Egypt. The prohibition against sending individuals to a country where they are at risk of torture is absolute.

CCR represents several individuals who have been, or are in danger of being, transferred from U.S. custody to the custody of foreign governments despite known risks of torture. In Arar v. Ashcroft, CCR represents Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who the U.S. removed to Syria, where he was tortured. U.S. officials have reported that Syria gave diplomatic assurances that Mr. Arar would not be tortured.