FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, September 18, 2017
Contact: Jaime Horn; 917-523-0705
Citizens Wrongfully Imprisoned in Egypt Sentenced
Egyptian Court sentences American and Solah Soltan
WASHINGTON (Monday, September 18, 2017) – Today, Freedom First, and Pretrial Rights International, both nonpartisan human rights groups based in Washington D.C., that aim to highlight the suffering of tens of thousands of prisoners in Egypt released the following statement regarding today’s hearing concerning the fate of two men who have been imprisoned in Egypt since 2013:
“We are heartbroken by the court’s verdict for Ahmed Etiwy,” said Praveen Madhiraju of Pretrial Rights. “He is a college student, convicted for protesting at a protest that he never attended. Having already served more than 80% of his sentence, he should be released immediately and pardoned. President Trump is meeting with President Sisi this week in New York. We urge him to put these Americans first. Not President Sisi.”
“My father, Salah Soltan, was sentenced to life in prison for giving a sermon where he asked protestors to disperse, respect the curfew and governmental institutions,” said Mohamed Soltan of Freedom First.“His case has always been politicized because of who he is, not what he did. This is Sisi’s Egypt.”
Both groups expressed their joy for Ibrahim Halawa’s acquittal and urged the Egyptian government to release him immediately.
Ahmed Etiwy, 27 of New York was arrested with two relatives after dropping his grandfather off at a bus station outside the Al-Fath mosque. Ibrahim Halawa, 21, was arrested with three of his sisters during a siege at the Al-Fath mosque in Cairo in 2013; and Salah Soltan was arrested after giving a Friday sermon in the Al-Fath mosque.
Egypt is holding nearly 60,000 political prisoners, including an estimated 20 American citizens. In April, President Trump helped to secure the release of Aya Hijazi, but Freedom First, Pretrial Rights International, as well as members of Congress, have been urging President Trump to do more to get the remaining Americans released.
Last month Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter urging President Trump to keep the pressure on Egypt for its human rights violations following the administration’s decision to deny Egypt foreign aid and delay military funding. In the letter, Chairman McCain urges President Trump to continue advocating for those Egyptians, Americans, and organizations fighting for democracy and freedom in Egypt.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, who Trump has called a “fantastic guy,” has overseen horrific human rights abuses, including the massacre of more than 1,000 activists in a single day, and the jailing of more than 60,000 journalists and activists without charge or trial.