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Open Letter to the US Ambassador to Egypt

By Mahmoud El- Yousseph

October 5, 2013

Ambassador Anne W. Patterson
United States Ambassador to Egypt

As an American citizen and a retired veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces, I am troubled by the unlawful detention of Mohammad Sultan, a United States citizen and recent graduate of Ohio State University. Mr. Sultan was detained in Media, a suburb of Cairo, and is now being held at an undisclosed location by the Egyptian Intelligence Service.

On August 14th, Mr. Sultan was shot in the arm during a pro-democracy rally in Cairo. Several days later, he was arrested by the EIS after he had posted a picture of his wounded arm on Facebook to alert the outside world. The EIS also removed all forms of outside communication by confiscating his phone, laptop, and camera.

The real reasons Sultan was arrested and taken to a secret location are: 1) because he is a pro-democracy activist, 2) his Egyptian father is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. 3) he publicly denounced the military coup that overthrew the legitimate Egyptian government and held the president under arrest.

His arbitrary arrest was illegal under international law. His arrest was carried out by EIS which is notorious for trumping up charges of undermining the government against pro-democracy demonstrators during Hosni Mubarak’s regime.

Sultan is a loving, peaceful, and law-abiding citizen. I urge you to use your influence to help save his life, ensure he receives proper medical attention for his injury, get him independent legal counsel, and advocate for his immediate release. This is his right under humanitarian law (Article 113 of the 4th Geneva Convention) and international human rights law (Article 14, paragraph 3, section b of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights).

Furthermore, Mr. Sultan is being held in an unsafe location which is in violation of Article 85 of the 4th Geneva Convention. In America we value our freedom of speech. If one of the foreign policy objectives is to ensure democracy and freedom of speech, then for goodness’s sake, why would you allow a United States Citizen to be detained and tortured for exercising that right?
Last September, three North American prisoners (including Sultan) smuggled letters to the outside world that spoke of the horrors of torture and the unsanitary conditions the prisoners are subjected to. 

I remember the outrage generated by the arrest of the 27-year-old Ilan Chiam Grapel, a dual Israeli-U.S. national who was arrested in a Cairo hotel for spying to Israel in June of 2011. Unlike Sultan, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton interceded on his behalf by stating “We see no basis for any legal action against him.”

She further added, “A more likely reason for his arrest is that Grapel served as the perfect “foreign hand” scapegoat for Egypt’s rulers. That begs the question: Why isn’t Mr. Sutlan granted the same privilege?

When the young American reporter Jill Carroll was kidnapped in Iraq in 2005, Muslim Americans spoke out. They condemned her captivity and demanded her unconditional release. They even sent a delegation to Iraq to plea with her captors for her life. The same happened when four members of the Christian Peacemakers team were taken captive in Iraq.
In March 2005, the sky fell over Afghanistan when a 41-year old Afghani man, Abdul Rahman was arrested after converting to Christianity. Every western diplomat and head of state demanded his immediate release. Fortunately, he is now enjoying his freedom in Italy.

As a representative of the American people in the Arab Republic of Egypt, I appeal to you in the name of fairness, justice, and human decency to help put an end to the suffering of this brave American young man and to demand an immediate and unconditional release of Mr. Mohammad Sultan.

Mahmoud El-Yousseph
Retired USAF Veteran
Feedback: elyousseph6@yahoo.com


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