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UA 128/14
Egypt
Abgeschlossen am 27. Juni 2014

Egyptian-American on hunger strike

AI-Index: MDE 12/026/2014

Mohamed Soltan, the son of a Muslim Brotherhood figure, who has been detained in Egypt since August 2013, has been on hunger strike since 26 January and his health is rapidly deteriorating. He was brought to his last court hearing on a stretcher on 11 May.

Mohamed Soltan, an Egyptian-American national, is on trial on charges including «funding the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in» and spreading «false information» to destabilize the country’s security, in the «Rabaa Operation Room» trial. He is one of 51 defendants in the trial, which started on 1 April. During the violent dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adawiya sit-in, on 14 August 2013, Mohamed Soltan was hit by a gunshot in his left arm. He and three of his friends were arrested at his home in Cairo on 25 August 2013. He was repeatedly beaten in detention and during his transfer between police stations and prisons. He is now in Tora Istiqbal Prison.

Mohamed Soltan started a hunger strike on 26 January in protest of his detention. He is eating no food, and only drinking water with sugar. He was brought to his last court session on 11 May on a stretcher because of his deteriorating health. During the trial, he said he had lost over 45kg after 105 days on hunger strike, and that he was at risk of bleeding to death or slipping into a coma until he died. He fainted repeatedly during the session. Mohamed Soltan’s lawyer asked the court panel to either refer his client to hospital or release him.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The security forces raided Mohamed Soltan’s home in Cairo on 25 August 2013, looking for his father, Salah Soltan, a Muslim Brotherhood figure. The Muslim Brotherhood, to which ousted president Mohamed Morsi belonged before he took office and with which he has remained closely associated, has been banned, and the government has declared it a «terrorist organization». When they could not find the father, they arrested the son, along with three friends who were visiting him following his surgery for his injured arm. They also confiscated their mobile phones, laptops and bags with their passports. He was transferred between Wadi al-Natrun Prison and Basateen and Mansheyat Nasr police stations where he was held for 15 days in small overcrowded cells.

During this time, Mohamed Soltan was interrogated by the National Security Agency as well as state security prosecutors, once while he was blindfolded without his lawyer present. The questioning was mainly focused on the location of his father, and Mohamed Soltan’s own political affiliation and activities, including which mosques he prayed in. He was accused of offences ranging from membership of a group engaged in terrorist activities, to funding the group, and spreading false information to destabilize the security situation in the country. Mohamed Soltan denied these accusations.

Amnesty International learned that on 27 August, Mohamed Soltan was taken 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 reportedly 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 has 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 held investigations.

Eventually, Mohamed Soltan was taken to Istiqbal Tora Prison, where he is still held, with three other men, in a very small cell meant for solitary confinement, with poor hygiene and ventilation. He had to undergo 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. Mohamed Soltan started a hunger strike on 26 January in protest at his prison conditions, and is now only living on water with sugar with his health rapidly deteriorating. According to his father, Salah Soltan, who is standing in the same trial, his son’s health condition has deteriorated.

Name: Mohamed Soltan

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