Families Of Americans Imprisoned In Egypt Pin Their Hopes On … Mike Pence
…Nearly 20 U.S. citizens have become used to a different kind of Egyptian hospitality. One is a 52-year-old father who only receives his diabetes medication at random intervals, during the odd visit when prison guards decide relatives including his wife and two daughters can hand it to him. He has spent more than four years in detention without an official verdict or sentence. Another is 27 years old and desperate to complete the degree he was working on when security officers arrested him for being in the vicinity of a political protest. He had gone to the area to help his grandfather catch a bus.
The two men, Mustafa Kassem and Ahmed Etiwy, and others who have yet to be publicly identified are caught up in what rights groups call the worst wave of repression in modern Egyptian history. Advocates for them and other detainees with ties to the U.S., like a pair of green card holders with multiple family members in America, see Pence’s trip as a vital moment. It’s the last chance this year for President Donald Trump’s “America First” administration ― which loudly celebrated its role in helping one detained U.S. citizen out of Egyptian custody earlier this year ― to make a real difference on the issue.
Demands that Sisi release the jailed Americans “need not dominate the meetings nor distract from other important issues, yet can and do achieve big results,” said Praveen Madhiraju, a pro bono attorney for Kassem and Etiwy at the nonprofit Pretrial Rights International.