New Jersey student released from Egyptian prison after hunger strike

A 24-year-old medical student from New Jersey who went on a hunger strike in an Egyptian jail has been released and returned home after more than a year behind bars, according to a report.

Mohamed Amashah, a dual US-Egyptian citizen from Jersey City, flew home Monday following his release from the Cairo lockup a day earlier, said the Washington-based Freedom Initiative group, ABC News reported.

He had been on pretrial detention for holding up a sign that read “Freedom to All Prisoners” in Tahrir Square — also known as “Martyr Square” — in downtown Cairo, according to the news outlet.

“Yesterday Egyptian-American political prisoner Mohamed Amashah was released from Egyptian prisons after 486 days of arbitrary detention,” read a statement by the human rights group, which represented him.

“Mohamed landed in Dulles International Airport this morning and returned home to Jersey City, New Jersey to be with his loved ones,” it added.

Amashah went on a hunger strike in March amid fears that he might get infected with COVID-19.

Mohamed Amashah is greeted by family members upon arrival at Dulles International Airport
Mohamed Amashah is greeted by family members upon arrival at Dulles International AirportBushra Soltan/Freedom Initiative

Last month, the rights group Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms claimed that more than a dozen inmates in the city’s Tora prison had contracted the deadly bug.

But the Egyptian government denied the existence of any outbreaks in prisons, confirming only that a Tora staffer had tested positive for the disease after he died in May.

Amashah faced charges of “misusing social media and aiding a terrorist group to achieve its goals,” referring to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

In May, Reem Mohamed Desouky, a Pennsylvania teacher who also is a dual US-Egyptian citizen, was released after being detained for almost 10 months for criticizing the government on Facebook.

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