Forty-two out of 73 Syrian and Palestinian refugees set out Tuesday for Germany after over seven months in detention at Karmooz police station in Alexandria. The remaining 31 refugees are planning to travel to Sweden and France.
According to one refugee, delegations from Germany, Sweden and France visited the Karmooz police station and decided to help them.
He added that the German delegation decided to take 42 of the refugees, the Swedish delegation to take 21, and the French delegation 10.
He said that media and human rights organisations, which have been calling for their release and highlighting their situation, also helped out in their release.
Rights groups, including the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), the Palestinian League for Human Rights, the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE), the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, the Center for Refugee Solidarity and the International Refugee Rights Initiative, have been calling for the release of detained Palestinians and Palestinian-Syrians
The 73 refugees were arrested on 1 November, and held in Karmooz police station in Alexandria after leaving Turkey by boat to reach Italy. The “mafia of illegal immigration” then forced them to land in Egypt, Mohamed Darwish, a refugee, previously told Daily News Egypt.
They were investigated by Prosecutor General who ordered their release and dropped charges against them on 5 November. Since then they have been held at Karmooz police station. The group is comprised of 58 men, eight women and 15 children, including two infants.
In a March statement, rights groups said: “Their detention contravenes Egyptian Law, while it denies them at the same time the ability to legally challenge their detention.”
Due to political upheavals in the Middle East following the 2011 Arab Spring, the level of refugees in Egypt has been increasing. The lion’s share of refugees in Egypt since 2011 has been made up of Syrian nationals, according to the Center for Refugees Solidarity.
Reports on arbitrary arrests and deportations of Syrian nationals are being conducted since the summer of 2011.
According to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the registered number of Syrians in Egypt is 134,329 in 2015. The highest percentage age range is between 26-59 years old.