Tal'at Fu'ad Qasim

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Tal'at Fu'ad Qasim (also spelled Qassim) (Arabic: طلعت فؤاد قاسم) (possibly executed 1995) was the leader of Egypt's militant Gama'a Islamiyya organization until he obtained political asylum in Denmark. He was executed in secret in 1995, following the first modern "extraordinary rendition" at the hands of U.S. authorities.

Qasim got his start in the Gama'a Islamiyya in the late 1970s, when he was head of the Student Union at Minya University in Upper Egypt; according to some sources, he was the immediate superior in the organization of Anwar Sadat's killer, Khalid Islambouli.[1] He was arrested and imprisoned following the assassination, escaping after serving eight years in prison. He then joined the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan (actually operating from Peshawar, Pakistan); in 1989 he became head of the Gam'a Islamiyya. After being sentenced to death by an Egyptian security court, he obtained asylum in Denmark, despite his public espousal and embrace of terrorist violence against civilians.[2]

In September 1995, he was kidnapped in Croatia during a trip to war-torn Bosnia. His capture was orchestrated by U.S. authorities, who had concluded that he posed a threat to U.S. interests. After questioning aboard a U.S. Navy vessel, he was handed over to Egyptian authorities in international waters.[3][4]

Qasim, who had been tried and convicted in absentia by a military tribunal in 1992, was then apparently executed by the Egyptian government, allegedly after torture. The Egyptian government refused to acknowledge the detention and execution. According to Human Rights Watch, Qasim's was the first case of "extraordinary rendition"; predating by six years the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.[3]


  1. ^ Mubarak, Hisham (Jan–Mar 1996). "What Does the Gama'a Islamiyya Want?: An Interview with Tal'at Fu'ad Qasim". Middle East Report (198): 40. JSTOR 3012876. 
  2. ^ See for example Mubarak, pp. 43–44.
  3. ^ a b Kellogg, Tom; el-Hamalawy, Hossam (9 May 2005). "V. Bad Precedent: The 1995 and 1998 Renditions". Black Hole: The Fate of Islamists Rendered to Egypt. Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 20 May 2011.  External link in |work= (help)
  4. ^ Mayer, Jane, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals", 2008. p. 33