Citizens Wrongfully Imprisoned in Egypt Sentenced

WASHINGTON (Monday, September 18, 2017) – Today, Freedom First, and Pretrial Rights International, both nonpartisan human rights groups based in Washington D.C., that aim to highlight the suffering of tens of thousands of prisoners in Egypt released the following statement regarding today’s hearing concerning the fate of two men who have been imprisoned in Egypt since 2013:

“We are heartbroken by the court’s verdict for Ahmed Etiwy,” said Praveen Madhiraju of Pretrial Rights. “He is a college student, convicted for protesting at a protest that he never attended. Having already served more than 80% of his sentence, he should be released immediately and pardoned. President Trump is meeting with President Sisi this week in New York. We urge him to put these Americans first. Not President Sisi.”

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PRI Assists Americans Imprisoned in Egypt – Verdict Days Out

A 27-year-old U.S. citizen who has spent more than four years in Egyptian custody on dramatic murder and terrorism charges is expected to receive a verdict Monday in his mass trial with almost 500 other people ― a moment his advocates say could be make-or-break. The case underscores how complicated Washington’s relationship with the world’s largest Arab country remains as the U.S.-supported government engages in what rights groups call the worst wave of repression in modern Egyptian history.
Egyptian military officers arrested Ahmed Etwiy on Aug. 17, 2013, during a security operation targeting political protesters, according to his family and American attorney Praveen Madhiraju. Authorities held him at a military facility and then a massive prison complex for over three years before a trial began. Etwiy was not even involved in the protests, his defenders maintain. Then a 23-year-old student at the German University in Cairo, he was in the area to escort his grandfather to a bus depot.

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Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, sent a letter urging President Trump to keep the pressure on Egypt for its human rights violations following the administration’s decision to deny Egypt foreign aid and delay military funding. In the letter, Chairman McCain urges President Trump to continue advocating for those Egyptians, Americans, and organizations fighting for democracy and freedom in Egypt.

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United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners – “Mandela Rules” passed

On 22 May 2015, the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (24th Session) adopted the 22 May 2015 – United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (Mandela Rules). These rules–known as the “Mandela Rules”–provide much needed clarity to the treatment of prisoners worldwide, including pretrial detainees.

In a recent press release, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime encouraged states to adopt these minimum standards in their domestic legislation:

Countries are encouraged to reflect the “Mandela Rules” in their national legislation so that prison administrators can apply them in their daily work.

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Iranian Trial Commences for American Reporter Jason Rezaian

As the US and Iran continue negotiations on a nuclear deal, the trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian began behind closed doors in a revolutionary court in Tehran last week. According to reports, Rezaian’s hearing adjourned abruptly without any indication of when proceedings would resume. Rezaian’s family traveled to the courthouse for the hearing, but were denied access to the floor where proceedings were held. According to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, an organization critical of the Iranian government headquartered in Connecticut, Rezaian’s trial commenced in Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court of Tehran, “a court known for issuing heavy sentences against political prisoners and prisoners of conscience with little to no supporting evidence.” Meanwhile, in Washington, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on “Americans Detained in Iran.” Mr. Rezaian’s brother, Ali Rezaian, will be among the... read more
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