Despite the close relationship, Egypt detains, harasses, and intimidates human rights defenders, critics, and their families around the world -- including those in the United States.
The US has a no concessions policy with hostage takers - so then why are we giving a regime that employs that same tactic a billion dollars?
Throughout 2020, at least 11 Americans were unjustly and arbitrarily detained in Egypt and even subject to torture; this led to the death of Egyptian-American Moustafa Kassem, who passed away as the result of medical negligence.
"Kassem suffered from diabetes and heart conditions that went untreated during his time in prison." - The Tip of the Iceberg: Impact of Egypt's Wrongful Detention Practices on US Persons and Families in 2020
At least five Americans reported that their family members were detained in an effort to pressure them to stop speaking out about the situation in Egypt and to cease their human rights advocacy.
“Because of my writing against Sisi, he kept my family members as hostages...they are holding [my cousin] hostage to make me stop writing.” – Dr. Ahmed Subhy Mansour, Islamic scholar and leader in the Quranist minority group
Egyptian state officials and state-aligned media consistently slander American NGO workers, rights defenders, and other members of civil society in an effort to discredit them and their work.
“[My family is] afraid to see my number on their phones...when we talk, [they] can’t sleep for three days after because [they’re] waiting to be arrested.” – American whose family members have been arbitrarily detained in Egypt
Targeted surveillance campaigns, the threat of reprisals, and fear for the safety of family living in Egypt are all cited as reasons that Americans hold themselves back from speaking about the country’s human rights abuses.
“Upon my release from prison, an officer said: ‘You’re eventually going to come back [to Egypt]…if you say anything publicly between now and then, there will be repercussions.” – Former detainee
Unlawful travel bans against Americans or those who work or study in the United States prevent them from reuniting with loved ones or trap them in Egypt and prevent them from being able to return to continue their studies or employment.
“My son wakes up in the middle of the night worried that I am being taken to prison again... we don’t have family here, so I am all he has.” – Former detainee