Download Android Version
      




Manage your Employees, Payroll & Stock with Divine HRM. Click here for demo.

Egypt Says it's Probing Death of Imprisoned US Citizen

Egypt said Tuesday it would investigate the death in custody of a U.S. citizen who had gone on a hunger strike as part of a six-year battle against what he insisted was wrongful imprisonment. Mustafa Kassem, 54, an Egyptian-born auto parts dealer from Long Island, New York, died late Monday of heart failure after a hunger strike he began last year, his lawyers said. Rights Group Says Prisoners Go on Hunger Strike in Egypt The international rights group on Wednesday called on authorities to investigate the prisoners' allegations of torture and other abuses The case has trained a spotlight on the dangers of Egyptian prisons, where many inmates are serving time for crimes they insist they did not commit, or have not been charged at all, as President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi escalates a crackdown on dissent. Egypt’s chief prosecutor ordered an autopsy and said officials are questioning all doctors who oversaw Kassem’s care in prison and at the Cairo University hospital where he died. In Washington, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker told reporters that Kassem’s death was “needless, tragic and avoidable.” “I will continue to raise our serious concerns about human rights and Americans detained in Egypt at every opportunity,” he said. How Egypt's President Tightened his Grip Behind the scenes, President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi’s closest advisers reworked the constitution to prolong his presidency and tighten his grip on Egypt. Not since the decades-long rule of Hosni Mubarak has so much power been concentrated in the hands of one man Kassem was in Cairo to visit family in August 2013 when his lawyers say he was mistakenly swept up in a vast dragnet during the violent dispersal of an Islamist sit-in that killed hundreds of people. That summer, security forces descended on supporters of ousted President Mohammed Morsi, who hailed from the Muslim Brotherhood, in what became known as the the “Rabaa Massacre.” US Releases Aid to Egypt Amid Human Rights Concerns

The Trump administration is justifying the release of hundreds of millions of dollars in additional military aid to Egypt, citing the country's progress over the last year in counterterrorism efforts and some improvements in its human rights record.A State Department official told VOA the United States has worked closely with the Egyptian government over the last year to further strengthen bilateral ties in support of common security and counterterrorism goals."The secretary signed the national…
Kassem was exchanging money at a shopping mall near Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square when police stopped him and asked to see identification. When he handed over his U.S. passport, officers suddenly started beating him, and detained him. He was held for five years before he was charged. Then in 2018, in a mass trial of over 700 defendants widely condemned by human rights organizations, Kassem was sentenced to 15 years under a contentious anti-protest law. After that, he refused to eat anything but vegetable juice, his lawyers said. Last week, he stopped even drinking. When President Donald Trump secured the release of Egyptian-American rights advocate Aya Hijazi, who was imprisoned for three years in Egypt on false charges, Kassem appealed to the U.S. administration for help. Vice President Mike Pence raised the issue last year with el-Sissi. How Sissi's Egypt Hands Out Justice Egyptian courts have sentenced some 3,000 people to death since 2014, when President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi took power, according to the Arab Network for Human Rights Information El-Sissi came to power the same summer of 2013 and has overseen a sweeping crackdown on dissent, silencing critics and jailing thousands. Rights groups accuse Egyptian prosecutors of detaining people without evidence, denying them access to lawyers and a fair chance to appeal. “It’s a scary precedent,” Hijazi, who pressed for Kassem’s release, told The Associated Press. “Both for what it means for the many political prisoners on hunger strike in Egypt right now ... but also for imprisoned U.S. citizens that have called on American authorities to respond to no avail.” Hijazi said Kassem was the fifth person to die in an Egyptian prison over the past month. “He was targeted not because he was a criminal, but because he was American,” she added, speaking about his arrest and imprisonment. U.N. experts recently said that “brutal” prison conditions, including deprivation of vital diabetes medicine, contributed to Morsi’s death. UN Calls for Independent Investigation into Death of Egypt's Morsi UN human rights office calls for prompt, impartial, transparent investigation into sudden death of former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi in Cairo court, where he was on trial on espionage charges The death of Kassem, who suffered from diabetes, prompted accusations of medical negligence by activists, who say authorities restricted his access to much-needed medication during years of detention.Kassem’s case evoked that of Morsi, who was held in the same notorious Tora prison. The divisive but democratically-elected former president died last year while on trial in a Cairo courtroom, six years after his overthrow amid mass protests against his rule.








Top News