Mustafa Kassem died of coronary heart failure on Monday, in accordance with Pretrial Rights Worldwide and The Freedom Initiative, the 2 organizations that represented him throughout his case. He was 54 years outdated.
Kassem, who was Egyptian American, was detained in August 2013 in Cairo whereas visiting his household. He was crushed by safety forces and held in pretrial detention for greater than 5 years earlier than being sentenced with out due course of in September 2018 to 15 years in jail, in accordance with the organizations.
Shortly after his sentencing, Kassem despatched a handwritten letter to Trump to tell him of his plight and implore the US President for his assist.
“I pray that you’ve got a plan for me,” Kassem wrote. He advised Trump that he was diabetic and was occurring a starvation strike “realizing full effectively that I’ll not survive it.”
“I not acknowledge myself. I do not need my kids to recollect me this manner, however I’m going on a starvation strike as a result of I’m dropping my will and I do not understand how else to get your consideration,” the daddy of two wrote.
Based on Mohamed Soltan, the chief of The Freedom Initiative, Kassem was on a liquid-only starvation strike on and off earlier than slicing off liquids final week. Shortly afterward, he was transferred to an area hospital, the place he died.
“I’m placing my life in your fingers,” Kassem wrote to Trump in that September 2018 message.
It’s unclear if the President ever noticed the letter, which was handed to him by Rep. Peter King, the New York Republican who represented Kassem’s brother and sister-in-law. The White Home declined to touch upon the document about Kassem’s demise.
On Monday, Assistant Secretary of State for Close to Japanese Affairs David Schenker stated he was “deeply saddened to be taught” of Kassem’s demise.
“His demise in custody was unnecessary, tragic and avoidable,” Schenker advised reporters on the State Division.
“We ship our honest condolences to Mr. Kassem’s spouse and household at this painful time,” he stated. “I am going to proceed to lift our severe issues over human rights and People detained in Egypt at each alternative, as will the complete crew on the Division of State.”
Nevertheless, a senior State Division official stated Monday that it was “nonetheless untimely” to speak about punitive measures for the federal government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi over Kassem’s demise.
“We’re actually involved about this and we will — we will discuss it, about what we will do,” the official stated. “We have not determined but.”
Soltan, a former Egyptian political prisoner himself, advised CNN there are not less than six different People in custody within the nation.
Though Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had raised issues about People detained in Egypt, together with Kassem, Trump has been much less vocal in regards to the Egyptian President’s human rights abuses. The US President as a substitute heaped reward on Sisi in April 2019, when he hosted the Egyptian chief on the White Home.
“I feel he is doing a fantastic job,” Trump stated, calling Sisi a “nice individual.”
Nevertheless, in 2017, Trump negotiated the discharge of Egyptian American charity employee Aya Hijazi and her husband from an Egyptian jail the place they’d spent almost three years. Then-White Home press secretary Sean Spicer stated Trump “straight engaged behind the scenes” to safe Hijazi’s launch and raised the problem with Sisi.
The Egyptian Embassy in Washington didn’t reply to a request for remark about Kassem’s demise.
CORRECTION: This story has been up to date to precisely mirror Mustafa Kassem‘s age.