Danger in Exile

Danger in Exile

imagine fleeing your homeland, seeking sanctuary abroad, only to find the oppressive hand of your own government reaching across borders to silence you. This chilling reality, known as transnational repression, is faced by countless individuals worldwide. Governments are increasingly wielding tactics like kidnappings, forced disappearances, and digital harassment to silence critics, human rights defenders, and journalists who dare to speak out, even miles away.

The Saudi journalist lured to a foreign embassy for a brutal murder sent a stark message to other dissenters. The Uyghur activist living in exile, constantly harassed online by Chinese authorities, fears for her family back home. The Ethiopian dissident, abducted on foreign soil, vanished without a trace, raising chilling questions about state-sponsored disappearances.


Ahmed Jaffer Muhammad,

Ahmed Jaffer Muhammad, a Bahraini critic of the government who fled to Serbia after government authorities tortured and ill-treated him, was extradited in January 2022 after Bahraini authorities issued a Red Notice through Interpol. Bahraini courts had sentenced him to life in prison following unfair, in absentia trials. Muhammad is now imprisoned in Bahrain, serving a life sentence.

The Belarusian government forced a commercial flight to land as it passed through Belarusian airspace in order to detain Raman Pratasevich, an activist and former editor of an opposition Telegram channel, and his girlfriend Sofya Sapega. Following his arrest, Pratasevich confessed, denounced the opposition, and issued apologies in televised appearances apparently made under duress
In February 2023, armed men, reportedly in Kenyan police uniforms, abducted Morris Mabior Awikjok Bak, a registered refugee from South Sudan, from his home in Nairobi. Awikjiok’s family have approached both the Kenyan and South Sudanese authorities for information about his whereabouts, but have received no response.
In March 2021, Izzat Amon, a migrant workers’ rights defender, was abducted in Moscow, and his whereabouts were unknown for two days until the Tajikistan Ministry of Interior stated that he was in pretrial detention in Tajikistan.


Wanchalearn Satsaksit,

Wanchalearn Satsaksit, a pro-democracy Thai activist affiliated with the anti-government United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (known as the “Red Shirts”), was abducted by unidentified assailants in front of his apartment in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, in June 2020.

These are just a few examples of the human cost of transnational repression.

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