October 4, 2022

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Yann Bourdon returns to Paris after his disappearance in Egypt

Yann Bourdon returns to Paris after his disappearance in Egypt

A lawyer representing his family said, on Tuesday, that the French traveler who went missing in Egypt a year ago has returned safely to his home in Paris.

It is not clear what has happened over the past year to Liane Bourdon, whose family has speculated that he may have been arrested by Egyptian security services. The Sorbonne graduate student, who disappeared during a year-long backpacking trip, refused to discuss his disappearance with the media and share details of his return to France.

Sarah Scotty, a legal advisor to the Geneva-based Justice Committee who has lobbied Egyptian and French authorities to investigate the 27-year-old’s disappearance, said Bourdon traveled from Cairo to Paris on August 10.

A day earlier, Bourdon had called his sister in Paris from the French consulate in Cairo, Scotty told the Associated Press. On the same day, the Egyptian state security services announced that they would facilitate Bourdon’s return to Paris.

Before that, his family and friends had last heard of Bourdon in August 2021.

After months of silence and procrastination on the part of the Egyptian authorities, the desperate Bourdon family decided to reveal the circumstances, and used Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s official visit to Paris on July 22 to press for an investigation.

They stood on a sidewalk in Paris and waved signs asking “Where’s Yann Bourdon, President Sisi?” Before a convoy passed in front of him carrying Sisi to a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

In recent years, international human rights groups have documented an increasing number of enforced disappearances by the Egyptian authorities. Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising against long-time former president Hosni Mubarak stemmed from demands for an end to police brutality and extrajudicial practices.

The family of Jan Bourdon, missing in Egypt, used a visit by the Egyptian president to Paris to press for an investigation into his disappearance.
Wendy Bourdon, via AP
The student's family and friends stood on a sidewalk in Paris and held signs asking
The student’s family and friends stood on a sidewalk in Paris and waved signs asking “Where’s Yann Bourdon, President Sisi?”
AP Photo / Thomas Padilla

Since Sisi came to power in 2014, most of the freedoms gained after the 2011 uprising have been revoked. The government has launched a massive crackdown on dissent, imprisoning thousands of people – many without trial.

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The vast majority of detainees are Egyptian citizens.