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Beyer Statement On Latest Egyptian Attempts To Jail His Constituent, Human Rights Defender Mohamed Soltan

Beyer Statement On Latest Egyptian Attempts To Jail His Constituent, Human Rights Defender Mohamed Soltan

July 12, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) – Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), co-chair of the Egypt Human Rights Caucus in the U.S. House of Representatives, issued the following statement today on reports regarding Abbas Kamel, head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Services. According to POLITICO, Kamel urged American officials to imprison Beyer’s constituent, human rights defender Mohamed Soltan, during a visit to Washington last month.

Beyer said:

“Everyone should be clear on the significance of this event: one of the highest-ranking officials of Egypt’s security state, Abbas Kamel, used meetings with American policymakers in Washington to try to intimidate an American citizen for his human rights advocacy.

“Mohamed Soltan is an advocate for democracy and human rights who was wrongfully sentenced to life in prison and tortured by the Egyptian regime for tweeting. Years after the Obama Administration secured his release, the Egyptian government still feels so threatened by him and others like him that they have taken his family members hostage to intimidate him into silence.

“The Sisi regime feels emboldened to threaten American citizens on U.S. soil because their widespread human rights violations have continued without consequences or accountability. Now the head of Egyptian intelligence is trying to make leading Members of Congress accomplices to Egypt’s authoritarian crackdown. If this does not cause American leaders to rethink and reevaluate our relationship with the Sisi regime – or question the wisdom of continued military aid and weapons sales without any conditions related to human rights abuses – I don’t know what will.”

Mohamed Soltan, an American citizen and prominent human rights defender, was arrested in 2013 during a violent crackdown on activists, protestors, and others. Soltan was subsequently imprisoned for two years and tortured before his release was ultimately secured by the State Department in 2015.

Beyer co-chairs Congress’ Egypt Human Rights Caucus, which calls attention to human rights violations in Egypt and which has been sharply critical of continued weapons sales to the Egyptian government.