Samira Shackle reports on Mohamed Soltan’s incarceration in Egypt and his ongoing struggle to promote democracy: Finally, in May this year, physically frail and psychologically pressured, Soltan was deported to the US. He had given up his Egyptian citizenship, making him eligible for a presidential decree that allows for the deportation of foreign prisoners. Before leaving prison, Soltan was not allowed to say goodbye to his father, who is on death row.
Since then, Soltan has dedicated himself to speaking out, meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry and ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to argue that western security interests are at stake. “The Egyptian regime is not facing any real substantial consequences for escalating repression. The non-violent opposition is not rewarded for maintaining its non-violence. The longer we’re turning a blind eye and being silent about this, the more likely folks inside prison will adopt more extremist ideas.”
For a time during his incarceration, Soltan shared a cell with Isis and Al-Qaeda militants. “They walked around with a victorious air: ‘look, you idiots, your model doesn’t work’. There’s a growing disbelief in freedom and democracy amongst moderate Islamists. Literally daily, things are happening that is proving the very simple arguments the Isis guys were making. You are facing so much oppression and there’s no outlet for it, no dialogue, no space for political dissent. People feel continuingly abandoned by the international community, which is legitimising this coup and giving it everything it needs to thrive.” [Continue reading…]