Thursday, April 18, 2024
US reneges on promise to aid political detainee, family claims.

US reneges on promise to aid political detainee, family claims.

The family of Salah Soltan, a prominent political prisoner and US permanent resident in Egypt, has criticized the Biden administration for abandoning him after he informed his family that he is facing death while in detention. Soltan wrote a letter, dated June 16, 2023, stating that he felt helpless and denied medical assistance when he collapsed earlier this year. The family expressed their disappointment, stating that the Biden administration is not prioritizing the safety and freedom of its own citizens when dealing with Egypt.

In a statement to The Guardian, Salah’s family said, “When dealing with Egypt, the Biden administration is actively choosing not to prioritize protecting its own citizens’ safety and freedoms.” They highlighted the Biden administration’s reluctance to put in the necessary efforts to secure Salah’s release and the release of other prisoners.

A leaked letter from Salah on March 20, 2023, revealed that he had been deprived of adequate healthcare despite suffering from life-threatening heart and liver diseases. Currently serving a life sentence at Badr 1 prison, Salah was a deputy minister under the democratically-elected government of Mohamed Morsi, which was overthrown.

Salah’s son, Mohamed, who was also imprisoned for two years, has been a leading human rights activist in the US since his release in 2015. US President Joe Biden had spoken about human rights in Egypt, specifically mentioning Mohamed’s case, while on the campaign trail. However, the Biden administration has faced criticism for not living up to its promises regarding human rights in Egypt.

The Biden administration did withhold $130 million in military aid to Egypt over human rights conditions, but this fell short of activists’ and lawmakers’ calls for $300 million. While the Biden administration has taken some action, such as approving a $200 million arms sale to Egypt in February 2021, Mohamed Soltan expressed disappointment that the promises made during the election campaign have not been fulfilled.

Salah’s family and human rights experts also highlight the issue of retaliation by Egyptian authorities against Salah for his son’s advocacy. After Mohamed testified in the US Congress about human rights violations in Egypt, Salah was subjected to forced disappearance and torture. In June 2020, Salah was again forcibly disappeared just days after Mohamed filed a lawsuit against a former Egyptian Prime Minister for alleged torture and other crimes.

The family has called on the Egyptian government to ensure Salah and all detainees have access to appropriate medical care. The State Department has stated that it has encouraged the Egyptian government to provide such care.

Source

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