US citizen who died in Egyptian jail received medical care, US embassy follow-up: Interior ministry

Ahram Online , Tuesday 14 Jan 2020

Mostafa Kassem, who had been in detention since 2013, had gone on hunger strike

Interior Ministry
Interior Ministry headquarters (Photo: Reuters)

A jailed US-Egyptian citizen who died on Monday following an extended hunger strike was provided “medial and legal procedures to stop himself from harming himself” with a follow-up from the US embassy in Cairo, a statement by the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

The interior ministry said Mostafa Kassem received all aspects of medical care during his time in prison, adding that he was visited by family and representatives from the US embassy.

The ministry said Kassem insisted on his hunger strike “despite receiving advices at more than one occasion of the gravity of the [effects of the] strike on his medical condition,” apparently a reference to his suffering from diabetes.

Kassem, 64, had been in custody since his arrest in Egypt in 2013.

He had been sentenced to 15 years in prison on convictions related to a 2013 pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-in in Cairo.

He had gone on hunger strike to protest his convictions.

The interior ministry statement came a day after Egypt’s top prosecutor ordered an autopsy to determine his cause of death.

According to a statement by the prosecutor-general, Kassem died at a Cairo hospital after he had been transferred from a jail hospital the night before.

US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker confirmed Kassem's death to reporters at a briefing in Washington on Monday, describing it as "needless, tragic and avoidable.”

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