Egypt has released five relatives of former political prisoner Mohamed Soltan in a move thought to be linked to Joe Biden’s predicted victory in the presidential elections.
“All five of my apolitical cousins that were unjustly detained as a reprisal for my lawsuit were released after 144 days in prison.”
“I’m indebted to everyone who advocated privately & publicly to #FreeSoltans & all the unjustly detained. Baba remains missing!”
Earlier this year Soltan filed a lawsuit in a US court against the former Egyptian Prime Minister Hezam Beblawy, accusing him of ordering his torture whilst he was detained.
In retaliation, on 9 and 15 June, security forces arrested and forcibly disappeared five of Soltan’s male cousins who live in Egypt.
Last week, in one day, an Egyptian court in Tora ordered the release of 416 detainees arrested after taking part in demonstrations. Soltan’s relatives were on this list.
The Supreme State Security Prosecution did not appeal the court’s decision to release them.
Many of the people released had been detained as part of the 2019 September demonstrations called for by Egyptian whistleblower Mohamed Ali.
Others had been detained as part of the protests over the transfer of the islands of Tiran and Sanafir to Saudi Arabia in 2014.
In October, 222 MEPs called on Egypt to release political prisoners shortly after an open letter to Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi from 56 congressmen who said that human rights abuses in Egypt would not be tolerated if Joe Biden won the election.
Joe Biden has said that Trump’s “favourite dictator” will not be given a blank cheque.
However, despite the celebrations surrounding their release, others called for their unconditional release after they were let out under precautionary measures which means they have to be at a local police station from 6pm to 6am the next day.
Others have questioned to what extent Egyptian domestic policy will change under Biden.