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FI 128/14-2
Abgeschlossen am 25. Mai 2015

US-Egyptian hunger striker jailed for life

AI-Index: MDE 12/1441/2015

US-Egyptian national Mohamed Soltan was sentenced by an Egyptian court on 11 April to 25 years in prison, as were 36 others, for running a protest «operations room». The court sentenced 14 others to death.

US-Egyptian national Mohamed Soltan and 36 others were sentenced on 11 April to life terms of 25 years in prison, by the Giza Criminal Court, which also sentenced 14 other men to death, including Mohamed Soltan’s father and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Badie. The Public Prosecution had accused the group of running an «operations room» at the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in by supporters of Egypt’s ousted president in Cairo in August 2013.

The judge did not appear to say which charges he had upheld. Egypt’s Public Prosecution had charged Mohamed Soltan with funding the sit-in, as well as spreading «false information» in order to destabilize national security.

Mohamed Soltan’s health has deteriorated severely, following what his family say has been a 14-month wet hunger strike in which he has taken liquids but eaten no food. He remains in solitary confinement in Tora Prison.

The court tried and sentenced several of the group in their absence. Those convicted include several journalists working for Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated outlets, as well as three members of Egypt’s official Journalist Syndicate, its head told state media on 11 April.

All those detained in the case may now appeal before Egypt’s highest court, the Court of Cassation.


Egyptian-American national Mohamed Soltan began his hunger strike on 26 January 2014, his family told Amnesty International. He is eating no food and only drinking water with sugar. He has been briefly hospitalized several times, but always returned to prison. While prison medical staff monitor his blood sugar levels and he has received an intravenous drip, he does not receive other medical care. His family say he has not received any treatment for a pre-existing blood-clotting disorder.
Until he was arrested, Mohamed Soltan had been working with a media committee which reported on violations by the security forces against supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohamed Morsi. Mohamed Soltan was shot in the arm on 14 August 2013 in violence that erupted when security forces dispersed pro-Morsi protesters in Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya Square. The violence, in which hundreds of people died, led to a sweeping crackdown on Mohamed Morsi’s supporters and the Muslim Brotherhood movement with which he was associated.
The security forces raided Mohamed Soltan’s home in Cairo on 25 August 2013 to arrest his father, a Muslim Brotherhood figure. He was not there, so they arrested Mohamed Soltan instead, as well as three of his friends who were visiting him following his surgery on his injured arm. Mohamed Soltan was transferred between Wadi al-Natrun Prison and Basateen and Manshiyet Nasser police stations where he was held for 15 days in small overcrowded cells.
Mohamed Soltan was taken on 27 August 2013 to Wadi al-Natrun Prison, 120km from Cairo. Upon arrival, he was held with other prisoners in the police truck for around four hours. He later stated he had to walk to the prison between two rows of police officers, who beat him and the other prisoners as they walked to the prison gate. He described it as being «beaten like chicken». The prisoners were then taken to a hall where they were told to take off their clothes and stay in their underwear. They were held handcuffed in this hall and were told to face the wall and that anyone who tried to look behind him would be beaten again. He stayed in this prison for three days before being taken back to Basateen Police Station for three weeks where the National Security Agency as well as state security prosecutors questioned them as part of their investigations.
Eventually, Mohamed Soltan was taken to Istiqbal Tora Prison, where he was held until the authorities transferred him to al-Aqrab maximum security prison, apparently to punish him for going on hunger strike. He had to receive a medical procedure by a cellmate in his cell without anaesthetic or sterilization to remove the supporting metal pins from his arm, after the prison authorities refused to have him transferred to a hospital to receive proper medical care. He is now in solitary confinement in Liman Tora Prison.
Under a law decreed in November 2014, Egypt’s President can repatriate foreign prisoners (Law 140 of 2014) to their countries of origin.

Name: Mohamed Soltan

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