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American student released from Egyptian prison

Family members greet Mohamed Amashah (second from left) upon his arrival at Washington’s Dulles International Airport on Monday. Associated Press/Photo by Bushra Soltan/Freedom Initiative

American student released from Egyptian prison

Mohamed Amashah, a dual Egyptian-American national, returned home to New Jersey on Monday after nearly 500 days in Egypt’s Tora prison without a trial. The Freedom Initiative, a U.S.-based group that represented Amashah, said he recused his Egyptian citizenship as a condition for his release. The U.S. government pressured Egypt to free Amashah during the pandemic, noting he suffered from asthma and autoimmune disease.

Why was he arrested? Authorities detained the medical student in March 2019 after he held a poster that read “Freedom for all the political prisoners” in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. He faced charges of misusing social media and aiding a terrorist group. In May, Egypt freed Reem Mohamed Desouky, a Pennsylvania-based dual national who was held for 10 months for criticizing the Egyptian government on Facebook.

Dig deeper: Read Mindy Belz’s report in Globe Trot on Egypt’s response to the pandemic.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.



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