A New York Town taxicab motive force, a U.S. citizen, who was once arrested in Egypt when he went to consult with his spouse and kids has been sentenced to 15 years in jail in a case his attorneys name “bogus” and “a shame.”
Excited by Egypt?
Upload Egypt as an passion to stick up-to-the-minute on the newest Egypt information, video, and research from ABC Information.
Moustafa Kassem, whose sentencing on Saturday got here in a mass trial with greater than 700 co-defendants, was once convicted of looking to overthrow the federal government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi.
He has already been held in Egyptian jails for 5 years, since his arrest in August 2013 at a checkpoint in Cairo whilst visiting his spouse and two youngsters, then three and six years outdated. He was once out buying groceries when safety officers detained him, accusing him of being a part of protests in a close-by sq. in opposition to an army takeover led by way of then Gen. Sisi, Kassem’s attorneys stated.
One in every of Kassem’s attorney known as the fees in opposition to his consumer “bogus” claims in opposition to “an blameless American.”
“What a shame,” stated attorney Praveen Madhiraju, who’s govt director of Pretrial Rights Global. “The White Area and State Division will have to now not sit down idly by way of when so totally disgraced by way of an ‘best friend,'” Madhiraju added.
The Egyptian embassy and the White Area have now not but spoke back to ABC Information’ requests for remark. A State Division spokesperson stated it’s “deeply involved by way of the conviction” and has raised his case “time and again with the Egyptian executive.”
“The Division of State takes critically its obligations to help U.S. voters in a foreign country,” the spokesperson stated. “We will be able to proceed offering suitable consular products and services.”
Kassem’s case has been adopted by way of the Trump management, with Vice President Mike Pence pronouncing he raised it immediately with Sisi when the 2 met in Cairo in January.
The management has made a famous precedence of liberating American citizens unlawfully detained in a foreign country. However Pence’s attraction was once now not sufficient to unfastened Kassem on the time or lend a hand him steer clear of a conviction now.
Kassem is only one of a number of U.S. voters recently held by way of Egypt, swept up in Sisi’s monumental crackdown on political opposition and civil society because the army took energy following days of protests in opposition to the democratically elected executive of Mohamed Morsi.
Whilst there are about 20 American citizens in Egyptian jails, there are as many as 60,000 political prisoners, in line with a Human Rights Watch record remaining 12 months.
Sisi has 10 to 12 instances as many political prisoners as former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, who was once pressured out within the 2011 Arab Spring, in line with a Freedom Area record in 2006 all the way through Mubarak’s reign.
Saturday’s mass trial resulted general in 75 folks getting sentenced to dying and over 600 to jail for the August 2013 protest that was once put down by way of safety forces in what human rights teams say was once the one deadliest incident in Sisi’s sweep to energy, with as many as 800 killed.
Kassem, 53, is diabetic with a center situation.
However in Egyptian jails he has been denied common get entry to to clinical remedy, together with insulin, his attorneys stated. A couple of requests by way of his circle of relatives to have him hospitalized had been denied or just overlooked by way of Egyptian government, in line with his attorneys.
“Moustafa can best be so robust,” his sister Iman Kassem stated in a remark Saturday. “For his youngsters and to stop every other tragedy, we urge President Sisi to unlock and pardon Moustafa instantly and for U.S. government to lend a hand see him house.”
With out that remedy, Kassem has skilled widespread frame tremors, misplaced keep watch over of his extremities briefly, and had his imaginative and prescient aggravate.
“It isn’t transparent how for much longer he can live to tell the tale” in detention, his attorneys warned in a petition to the United International locations Running Workforce on Arbitrary Detention remaining month.
When Kassem was once arrested and introduced his U.S. passport, his attorneys say he was once crushed, accused of being a secret agent, and charged with intent to purpose chaos and overthrow the federal government for his alleged involvement within the protests.
The Egyptian executive were in quest of the dying penalty for him, too.
Along side the greater than 700 different defendants, he had his detention renewed en masse each and every 45 days for greater than 5 years, in line with his attorneys, despite the fact that Egyptian regulation lets in for pretrial detention of best two years.
A number of the others convicted and sentenced Saturday for his or her alleged roles within the protests are famed Egyptian photojournalist Shawkan, who was once protecting the protests, in addition to a number of senior Muslim Brotherhood leaders. Circumstances had been dropped in opposition to 5 individuals who had died whilst in jail, judicial assets advised the scoop company.
The Trump management has been accused of going cushy on Egypt, with a decent bond and heat phrases between strongman Sisi and President Trump.
In July, the State Division introduced it was once liberating $195 million in support to Egypt that had up to now been withheld over human rights considerations.
Regardless of Egypt taking no noticeable steps to deal with human rights problems, the State Division stated it was once offering the help “within the spirit of our efforts to additional enhance this partnership,” an reputable advised ABC Information.
The U.S. effort has every now and then yielded some rewards. In April 2017, Egypt freed Aya Hijazi, a U.S. citizen and humanitarian support employee, her husband Mohamed Hassanein, and 4 others after Trump and most sensible aides recommended Sisi to take action as a gesture of goodwill.
However even then, Trump perceived to blame ousted President Morsi for her detention, in line with Hijazi.
Morsi is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, a political birthday celebration with make stronger all through the Center East this is noticed as a terrorist community by way of some within the U.S.
Hijazi advised PBS Newshour that Trump had a “conviction” that Morsi’s executive arrested her, now not the strongman Sisi whom the U.S. president described as “an incredible man” simply days prior to Hijazi’s unlock.