U.S. citizen Mohamed Soltan is wrongfully imprisoned in Egypt and on hunger strike. Mr. Soltan is at risk of receiving life imprisonment tomorrow on trumped up charges and for so-called “crimes” that are not recognized under international standards and human rights law.
Will the Obama Administration do more than just privately push for his release? There is no indication that Egyptian officials are going to resolve his case in a positive manner without increased public pressure.
Read our Amnesty International letter to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry.
Mr. Soltan is a dual US-Egypt national who was arrested in August 2013 as part of a sweeping crackdown on supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohamed Morsi. During his wrongful imprisonment, he had to undergo a medical procedure by a cellmate without anesthesia or sterilization to remove the supporting metal pins from his arm. Prison authorities had refused to have him transferred to a hospital to receive proper medical care.
“The president’s silence demonstrates once again that when it comes to human rights, the U.S. holds repressive allies to a much lower standard than adversaries,” said Sunjeev Bery, Amnest International USA’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Bloomberg: Obama Seeks to Reassure Saudi King on Iran Talks, Syria
By Julianna Goldman and Mike Dorning | March 29, 2014
March 31, 2014
By Adam Coogle
Human Rights Watch
US President Barack Obama left Riyadh on the afternoon of March 29 apparently without raising human rights issues during talks with Saudi officials. The trip came at a time when Saudi Arabia has scaled up its persecution of peaceful dissidents and human rights activists – including one who is expected to receive a long prison sentence next week; deported thousands of undocumented migrants who have been detained in terrible conditions; and continues its systematic discrimination against women.
Although billed as a “fence-mending” trip, it is hard not to wonder what it would take for Obama – or any senior US official – to shed some light on these pervasive abuses.
Continue reading “HRW: Dispatches: “Obama Refuses to Talk Human Rights in Saudi Arabia””
Washington Examiner: Obama refuses to raise human rights issues with Saudis
By Joel Gehrke | March 31, 2014
“…It wasn’t just Republicans angry with Obama. Amnesty International accused him of showing hypocrisy on human rights issues.
“The president’s silence demonstrates once again that when it comes to human rights, the U.S. holds repressive allies to a much lower standard than adversaries,” Amnesty International’s Sunjeev Bery said. “On Saturday, Saudi Arabian women activists will defy the government’s ban on women driving. It is the only such ban in the world. Through Amnesty International’s campaign, thousands of people in the U.S. have shown their solidarity with these brave women. Unfortunately, White House officials, including the president, will not be among them.”
McClatchy Washington Bureau: Obama honors Saudi woman’s fight against abuse, heads back to Washington
By Lesley Clark | March 29, 2014
Sunjeev Bery, Amnesty International’s advocacy director for Middle East and North Africa, said the group was deeply disappointed that Obama didn’t raise human rights issues with the Saudi leader or speak about it publicly.
“The President’s silence demonstrates once again that when it comes to human rights, the U.S. holds repressive allies to a much lower standard than adversaries,” Bery said.
Amnesty noted that 70 members of Congress had urged Obama to bring up the “significant government repression” facing Saudis.
White House briefing post-Saudi trip, as quoted in San Francisco Chronicle blog:
Key part bolded/underlined.
From the White House briefing for press with senior administration officials on the President’s meeting with King Abdullah, March 28:
Continue reading “After Saudi Arabia: White House Said No Talk of Human Rights (Transcript)”
FoxNews.com: Amnesty International says human rights ‘missing in action’ on Obama trip to Saudi Arabia
Published March 28, 2014
Amnesty International is criticizing President Obama for not discussing Saudi Arabia’s human rights record in either private meetings with King Abdullah or meetings with other Saudi officials.
A spokesman for the human rights group Sunjeev Bery said in a statement Friday that “human rights were missing in action” during Obama’s trip to the Middle Eastern nation.
He noted that 70 members of Congress urged the president to speak up about the many Saudis that are facing repression by their government, but Obama did not do so.
“The president’s silence demonstrates once again that when it comes to human rights, the U.S. holds repressive allies to a much lower standard than adversaries,” he said.