Share
News

Trump Admin Secures Release of American After Hunger Strike, 486 Days in Egyptian Prison

Share

An American medical student detained without trial in an Egyptian prison for nearly 500 days has been freed and returned to the United States, the U.S. State Department said on Monday.

The release of Mohamed Amashah, a dual Egyptian-American citizen from Jersey City, New Jersey, followed months of pressure from the Trump administration, according to the Freedom Initiative group, which advocated on his behalf.

“We welcome the release of U.S. citizen Mohamed Amashah from Egyptian custody, and thank Egypt for its cooperation in his repatriation,” the State Department said.

The U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman, Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, said he’d personally raised the issue of “unjustly detained Americans” with Egypt’s foreign ministry last week.

Like thousands of political prisoners in Egypt, Amashah, 24, had been held in pre-trial detention on charges of “misusing social media” and “aiding a terrorist group,” according to the Freedom Initiative.

Trending:
Former NYPD Chief Calls Big Brian Laundrie Development 'Very Strange,' Suggests 'Something Is Amiss'

Under broad counterterrorism laws, state prosecutors have used these vague charges to renew 15-day pretrial detention periods for months or years, often with little evidence.

In March of last year, Amashah stood alone in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of Egypt’s 2011 Arab Spring uprising, holding an Arabic sign that read: “Freedom for all the political prisoners.”

He was swiftly arrested and sent to Cairo’s notorious Tora prison complex, where he remained for 16 months.

Before boarding a flight home late Sunday, he relinquished his Egyptian citizenship as a condition of his release.

Is Egypt violating the free speech of its citizens?

Protesting has been illegal under Egyptian law since 2013, when President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, then defense minister, led the military’s ouster of Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, amid mass protests against his rule.

Over the years, el-Sissi has moved to quash dissent, silencing critics and jailing thousands.

In March, Amashah and fellow inmates began a hunger strike to protest their unjust imprisonment, the Freedom Initiative said.

Amashah suffers from asthma and an autoimmune disease. His deteriorating health stoked fear in Washington that he could end up like Mustafa Kassem, an auto parts dealer from New York whose recent death after a hunger strike in the same prison sent a chill through Egyptian-U.S. relations.

“No one wanted to take the risk of another Kassem,” according to Mohamed Soltan, founder of the Freedom Initiative.

Related:
Biden's 'Fair Share' Argument Is Wrong: 'Wealthy' in US Already Pay Far More in Taxes Than Europe's High Earners

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators asked that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urge foreign governments to release American detainees, including Amashah, citing the risk posed by the pandemic.

“His case is welcomed progress and a step forward in the right direction,” the Freedom Initiative said in a statement.

This spring, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights appealed for the release of pre-trial detainees in Egypt.

Egypt’s prisons, estimated to hold 114,000 people, are “overcrowded, unsanitary and suffer from a lack of resources,” the human rights office said, adding that detainees are routinely denied access to critical medical care and treatment.


[jwplayer VaRjpnLx]

The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →



loading

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

Tags:
, , , , ,
Share
The Associated Press is an independent, not-for-profit news cooperative headquartered in New York City. Their teams in over 100 countries tell the world’s stories, from breaking news to investigative reporting. They provide content and services to help engage audiences worldwide, working with companies of all types, from broadcasters to brands.
The Associated Press was the first private sector organization in the U.S. to operate on a national scale. Over the past 170 years, they have been first to inform the world of many of history's most important moments, from the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the bombing of Pearl Harbor to the fall of the Shah of Iran and the death of Pope John Paul.

Today, they operate in 263 locations in more than 100 countries relaying breaking news, covering war and conflict and producing enterprise reports that tell the world's stories.
Location
New York City




loading

Conversation