Egypt arrests kin of American activist Mohamed Soltan

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Feb 16, 2021

Egyptian safety forces have raided the houses of Egyptian-American activist Mohamed Soltan’s kin and arrested two of his cousins in what his US-based advocacy group Freedom Initiative described as a “campaign of retaliatory aggression.” 

In June, Soltan filed a federal lawsuit in opposition to a former Egyptian prime minister, Hazem el-Beblawi, accusing Beblawi of orchestrating Soltan’s torture throughout the nearly two years Soltan was held as a political prisoner in Cairo. Days after the lawsuit was filed, Egypt arrested 5 of Sultan’s cousins in what he mentioned was an try at pressuring him into dropping the swimsuit. In November, they had been briefly launched in what was seen as a potential goodwill gesture to the incoming Biden administration. 

Two of Soltan’s apolitical cousins, Moustafa Soltan and Khairi Soltan, at the moment are being held in a state safety jail, the Freedom Initiative mentioned in a press release, noting that the sample of intimidation and harassment isn’t restricted to Soltan’s kin. 

Most just lately, Egypt arrested a number of kin of Aly Madhy, an activist granted asylum within the United States, after he known as for celebrations to mark the 10th anniversary of Egypt’s January 25 Revolution of 2011. 

Eric Lewis, Soltan’s lawyer, mentioned in a press release that the most recent arrests counsel Egypt is making an attempt to intimidate his shopper into silence. 

“Such tactics have no place in the international community. Egypt cannot seek the benefits of membership in that community while denigrating human rights and behaving with impunity and lawlessness,” Lewis mentioned. 

President Joe Biden has pledged to rethink the US relationship with Egypt, a rustic that’s the recipient of roughly $1.three billion in US army help per yr. In a July tweet, he warned Cairo it was “unacceptable” to threaten Soltan’s household and people of different exiled activists.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price informed reporters that the administration was wanting into experiences that Soltan’s relations had been detained. 

“We have and we continue to engage the Egyptian government on human rights concerns, and we take seriously all allegations of arbitrary arrest,” Price mentioned. “We will bring our values with us into every relationship that we have across the globe, that includes with our close security partners. That includes with Egypt.” 

Soltan’s father, Salah Soltan, additionally stays in detention. He is serving a life sentence for his position in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. He was moved from his jail cell to an unknown location in June and hasn’t been heard from since.