US citizen Mohamed Soltan was unjustly imprisoned without charge by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s draconian US-backed dictatorship in 2013. The citizen journalist and peaceful activist went on hunger strike in an Egyptian prison for 490 days.
He was tortured in prison. In January, the New York Times reported that Soltan’s family had “released six photographs taken in prison that showed him unconscious with blood running out of his mouth, sores on his lips and gums, and large bruises on his hands and arms.” In a statement, his family said he suffered “increased physical and psychological torture.”
The Ohio State University graduate was sentenced to life in prison. Once again, he had committed no crime.
For the approximately two years of Soltan’s imprisonment, the US government, for the most part, turned a blind eye to the torture of its own citizen by a close ally. Its support for the young man was weak at best.
The US media, similarly, did not devote nearly as much attention to Soltan’s almost 500-day hunger strike as it could have. In February, I wrote about how the US media celebrated the release of a white journalist who had also been unjustly imprisoned, but mostly ignored Americans of color (not to mention the estimated 40,000 non-American Egyptian political prisoners) who were languishing in Egyptian dungeons.
After unimaginable torment, on 30 May, Soltan was released. In order to attain his freedom, he had to renounce his Egyptian citizenship.
He was greeted in northern Virginia’s Dulles airport by his family, friends, and support groups such as CODEPINK, all of whom had arduously advocated for him for years.
Human rights organization CODEPINK captured video of the return home of Mohamed Soltan after the torturous years in prison.