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In the Shadows of Authoritarianism

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Detained
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Executed
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Sentenced to death
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Disappeared
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Sexually assaulted

In the Shadows of Authoritarianism

In the Shadows of Authoritarianism

Egyptian and Saudi Transnational Repression in the U.S

This report investigates how two U.S. allies — Egypt and Saudi Arabia — are increasingly attempting to curtail fundamental rights and freedoms on U.S. soil, a phenomenon known as transnational repression (TNR). Building on survey data from 72 individuals with professional and/or personal ties with Egypt or Saudi Arabia and in-depth interviews with victims, our report expands the scope of what is understood to be transnational repression, mapping novel tactics such as the use of state-supported litigation and the detention of Americans abroad with the aim of silencing free expression in the United States. We argue that there is no “typical” victim of TNR and that focusing solely on Egyptian and Saudi diaspora communities belies the true scope of this growing phenomenon. We also find that TNR creates a chilling effect that leads to lost opportunities, making it impossible to know the full extent of its impact. Though entire communities across the United States are under threat, the legislation addressing TNR had been largely piecemeal prior to the introduction of the Transnational Repression Policy Act, and the distrust of federal and local law enforcement among a demographic at high risk has created obstacles to addressing TNR. We conclude by offering recommendations to address these issues. 

 Transnational repression is affecting entire communities across the United States. Hover over our interactive map to learn more.

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Published on

April 17, 2023

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Detained

Tens of thousands of political prisoners remain behaind bars in Egypt.

241

Executed

According to Reprieve, between 2018 and 2021, Egypt executed 241 people, the fifth highest in the world in this period.

2,182

Sentenced to death

2,182 People have been sentenced to death in mass trials in the country since 2011.

2,700

Disappeared

The Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms has documented over 2,700 enforced disappearances in Egypt in the last five years.

655

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The Freedom Initiative and the Egyptian Front for Human Rights documented at least 655 cases of sexual violence in prisons since 2015, including rape, molestation, and electrocution of the genitals.