Does a prisoner have to be a deserter or tied to the Brotherhood to get Barack Obama to call out for their release?
Barack Obama has called for the release of Egyptian American Mohamed Soltan who has been sentenced to life imprisonment in Egypt for taking part in a violent protest against the coup by President el-Sisi who unseated The Muslim Brotherhood dictator, Mohammad Morsi.
His father Saleh, a prominent member of the Brotherhood, was sentenced to death.
In a statement, the United States State Department said that it was “deeply disappointed” in the decision and “deeply concerned about Mr. Soltan’s health and detention.” The statement called for Egypt to release Mr. Soltan “on humanitarian grounds.”
CAIR, a Muslim Brotherhood organization, has been insisting the president call out for Soltan’s release.
Barack Obama has been relatively silent on Dr. Shakil Afridi’s imprisonment in Pakistan. Dr. Afridi helped the United States capture Osama bin Laden. Obama hasn’t been very forceful about securing the release of our Marine in jail in Iran – Amir Hekmati – nor has he helped the WaPo reporter Jason Rezaian, former FBI agent Bob Levinson, American pastor Saeed Abedini, also imprisoned in Iran.
The president’s statement on March 20, 2015 was made in the spirit of the Norwuz family tradition. He urged the uniting of families and said this:
Saeed Abedini of Boise, Idaho has spent two and a half years detained in Iran on charges related to his religious beliefs. He must be returned to his wife and two young children, who needlessly continue to grow up without their father.
“Amir Hekmati of Flint, Michigan has been imprisoned in Iran on false espionage charges for over three and a half years. His family, including his father who is gravely ill, has borne the pain of Amir’s absence for far too long.”
“Jason Rezaian of Marin County, California, an Iranian government credentialed reporter for the Washington Post, has been unjustly held in Iran for nearly eight months on vague charges. It is especially painful that on a holiday centered on ridding one’s self of the difficulties of the past year, Jason’s mother and family will continue to carry the heavy burden of concern regarding Jason’s health and well-being into the new year.”
“And finally, we recently marked yet another anniversary since Robert Levinson went missing on Kish Island. His family has now endured the hardship of his disappearance for over eight years.”
Barack Obama said nothing when our soldiers were imprisoned unfairly in Mexico. The list goes on. He is willing to fight for the release of deserters however.
The judge in the Egyptian case in known for harsh punishments and critics say all those arrested are painted with the same brush in sham trials. Soltan’s health is deteriorating because the 27-year old has been on a hunger strike for more than 300 days.
Tom Malinowski, the State Department’s top human rights official, criticized the sentencing in blunter terms. “US citizen #Soltan sentenced to life in prison for nothing more than attending a protest,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Brotherhood has been declared a terrorist organization by Egypt because it is.
WaPo says the younger Soltan is not a member of the Brotherhood. However, he supported the movement and transmitted what Egypt says is false news. In other words, they believe him to be a subversive but it’s not clear that they have sufficient evidence.
Soltan was shot in the arm during a violent protest on August 13, 2013 where human rights groups estimated 1,000 people were killed by the military, according to the New York Times. He along with the Brotherhood were hold up in camps. A number of the campers would leave the camp at night to commit acts of terror. The Egyptian military ignored it for months, warning campers to disperse. The Brotherhood decided to attack the military and they responded by clearing them out by force. It was known as the the “Rabaa Operations Room” case (see below).
The sentence will be appealed and the verdict could be overturned. Also, President el-Sisi could choose to deport Soltan to the U.S.
Soltan may deserve the support but he doesn’t deserve it more than our Marine, preacher, FBI agent, reporter or the doctor in Pakistan, and so on. Do Americans even know about our Marine veteran being tortured simply because he is a former soldier?
Now we know you have to be a deserter or a Brotherhood-tied operative to get the president’s attention.
Greta offers her opinion on the jailed Americans in Iran.
Listen to Montel talk about our Marine.