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9 Democrats back resolution slamming Egypt for unjust imprisonment of women

Nine Senate Democrats have sponsored a resolution condemning Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia for their unjust imprisonment of women.

Among them are Senator Bob Menendez of New Jersey, Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, who have demanded the release of several political prisoners, reports Al-Monitor.

In Egypt they have called for the release of Sanaa Seif, an activist who was sentenced to a year and a half in prison in March for allegedly spreading false news.

Sanaa was arrested in June last year after she slept with her sister and mother Laila Soueif outside the prison where her brother, the prominent political activist Alaa Abdelfattah, is being held.

The resolution comes as Democrats Tom Malinowski and Adam Schiff are advocating for cutting $75 million of the $1.3 billion assistance to Egypt over the Sisi regime’s detention of political prisoners and the harassment of American citizens including Mohamed Soltan and Aly Hussin Mahdy.

Chairman of the Senate panel on the Middle East, Senator Chris Murphy, has called on the government to withhold a waiver on $300 million of the aid on the grounds that the Egyptian military focuses “more on internal repression than on regional security.”

Last year Joe Biden promised there would be no more blank cheques for Trump’s “favourite dictator”, pledging that he would get tough on Sisi’s government over human rights abuses.

However, the Biden administration later announced the sale of $200 million of shipborne surface-to-air missiles to Egypt just days after Soltan’s family members were arrested by the regime after he filed a lawsuit in the US against a former Egyptian prime minister for overseeing his torture whilst in prison.

This week the US government voiced support for the US and Egypt’s security relationship.

The nine senators who sponsored the resolution on the unjust detention of women called on Saudi Arabia to release rights activist Maya’a Al-Zahrani and on Turkey to release editor Hatice Duman and journalist Aysenur Parildak.

The Democrats also called for the release of Iranian human rights worker and lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who defended Iranian women who took off their head coverings. Anti-death penalty activist Atena Daemi and two environmentalists Sepideh Kashani and Niloufar Bayani should also be set free by Iran, the US lawmakers said.

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