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The New Arab

US citizen sentenced to 15-year jail term in Egypt goes on hunger strike

Kassem was handed down the ruling on Saturday in a case involving 739 defendants [TNA]

Date of publication: 10 September, 2018

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A US citizen, who an Egyptian court sentenced to 15 years in prison in a mass trial, has gone on hunger strike in protest of 'injustice and maltreatment'.

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Egypt, US, Rabaa.

A US citizen, who an Egyptian court sentenced to 15 years in prison in a mass trial, has gone on hunger strike in protest of "injustice and maltreatment".

Moustafa Kassem, 53, began the strike on Sunday from his cell in Cairo's infamous Tora prison, his wife told The New Arab's Arabic-language service.

She said her ailing husband, who has been convicted of trying to overthrow the Egyptian government, has no political affiliations, and has been subjected to human rights violations in prison.

"Moustafa suffers from diabetes and a thyroid disorder. He has suffered many injustices since his arrest five years ago such as beatings," she said.

Kassem was handed down the ruling on Saturday in a case involving 739 defendants, of which 75 were sentenced to death for their involvement in a 2013 sit-in that was violently dispersed by security forces and led to nearly a thousand dead.

The UN has blasted the verdict, saying it should be reversed to avoid an "irreversible miscarriage of justice".

Kassem, New York City taxi cab driver, was arrested in August 2013 at a checkpoint in Cairo while visiting his wife and two children, his lawyers told ABC News.

The dual US-Egypt citizen was out shopping when security officials detained him, accusing him of being part of the protests at Rabaa Square.

His lawyers called the charges against their client "bogus" claims against "an innocent American".

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch say at least 40,000 people were arrested in the first year after ousting of former president Mohamed Morsi on 3 July, 2013.

Egypt's courts have sentenced hundreds of them to death or lengthy jail terms after speedy mass trials that human rights groups said made a mockery of due process.

Meanwhile, no members of the Egyptian security forces or Cairo authorities have been held accountable for the Rabaa massacre.

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