Najm Aldeen Al Al Iryani was a Yemeni student at the American University in Cairo who was granted the MEPI Tomorrow’s Leaders Scholarship in Fall 2015. In Summer 2018, he was expelled from university and the scholarship accordingly because of an academic integrity case.
On August 11, 2018, Najm posted a facebook status at 3:19 AM begging for help and stating that he was being sent back to Yemen from Egypt by force. After his expulsion, his scholarship office booked him a ticket back to Yemen that was scheduled on August 24, 2018. He decided to cancel and refund the ticket in hopes of starting a new life and out of fear of going back to Yemen, a country that has been in a continuous state of war for the last three years. (Note: From 2016 to 2018, his mother, pregnant sister and father all lost their lives because of the war).
According to Najm’s facebook post and pictures of the emails that were sent to him, his scholarship office found out that he had canceled and refunded his ticket and they decided to book him another ticket to Aden, Yemen on the soonest flight. He explains that he was banned from leaving campus and was forced to go to the airport with police and security to take the next flight to Aden, Yemen. He also states that his passport was held by them. His roommate and friend, Feras, explained what happened on an AUC students facebook group: “The security of the university came knocking at our room's door and as they came in, they 7 of them started inspecting everything (papers, meds, boxes, closets, drawers) they opened every bag and box. They took Najm's laptop by force and also took the money (as stated in the email Najm has posted). They told him that they will take him Tonight to the airport to Yemen as they have already booked his ticket. They took his passport by force and when he tried to leave the university, the security followed him and told him he is not allowed to leave. This is what I have witnessed. I am speechless and horrified.”
After what happened, Najm sent an email to his scholarship office explaining that the cancelation of the ticket was driven by his fear of going back to Yemen and stated: “You took your money for the canceled ticket and you can also cancel the new ticket you booked for me. I do not want any ticket from you nor any accomodation. I just want my life to be saved. I want to apply for asylum with the UNHCR in Egypt. You took your laptop that you gave to me and that is your right. But I have the right to live and I dont want to go back to Yemen to be killed.” He did not receive a reply back. Najm ended his facebook post by saying “they want to send me by force to my death”.
Read Najm’s Facebook Post: https://www.facebook.com/100004900929454/posts/1025941254245896/
Read more about Najm’s Story (English): https://madamirror.appspot.com/www.madamasr.com/en/2018/08/12/feature/politics/yemeni-student-expelled-from-auc-taken-to-cairo-airport-by-university-security-is-given-temporary-protection-by-unhcr-pending-asylum-application/
Read more about Najm’s Story (Arabic): http://rassd.net/430370.htm
Najm was saved by the Student Union and escorted to a safe place for few days before he decided to go Malaysia, a Visa free country for Yemenis. Najm managed to safely move to Malaysia temporarily in order to avoid any legal complications with the Egyptian authorities. Najm did not want the university to make any further problems for him and thuis decided to stay in Malaysia for a couple of months until he refigures his educational future or perhaps secures a permanent source of income
After carefully studying and consulting our friends in Malaysia, we came to conclude that his expenses for at least 6 months would be as the following:
- Rent, 150$ Average rent in Kuala Lumpur for a month. Total for 6 months = 900$
- Utilities and Residential Services (Electricity, Water, Gas), 40$ Average per month. Total for 6 months = 240$
- Living Expenses(Food, Transportation, Phone, Daily Consumer Goods), 150$ Average per month. Total for 6 months = 900$
Total Amount Needed: 2040$
These expenses will be very important to help Najm immediately settle down in Malaysia. Najm is looking forward for your contributions as he quickly wants to plan to resume his studies and settle in a friendly environment
Your support will be appreciated! Every dollar can help in allowing Najm settle is an investment in his safety, education and future, hopefully, a better future to Yemen too!