Egyptian-American Given Life Sentence Freed, Leaves Egypt

An Egyptian-American citizen sentenced to life in prison last month for fomenting unrest was freed Saturday and left the country for the U.S. after relinquishing his Egyptian passport.

Mohamed Soltan, the 27-year-old son of a prominent Muslim Brotherhood figure, was released after “extensive efforts” from the U.S. government, his brother said on Facebook. Soltan gave up his Egyptian citizenship and was deported to the U.S., state-run Mena reported, quoting security sources.

The U.S. government “welcomes the release of American citizen Mohamed Soltan,” the State Department said in a statement Saturday. “This step brings a conclusion to this case and we are glad Mr. Soltan will now be reunited with his family in the United States.”

Soltan, who the Associated Press said is an Ohio State University graduate and former Barack Obama campaigner, had been charged with setting up an operations room in a pro-Muslim Brotherhood protest camp in 2013. He had gone on a hunger strike for more than 400 days as his case raised condemnation from human rights groups and the White House.

Egypt issued a law last year allowing the deportation of foreign suspects and convicts to serve their sentences or be retried in their own countries. The law was invoked to release two Al Jazeera journalists earlier this year.

Egyptian authorities started a crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood after the military led the ouster of President Mohamed Mursi in 2013 following mass protests against his one-year rule. Hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested as the government outlawed the Muslim Brotherhood and accused it of engaging in acts of terrorism.

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