Washington agrees to an arms deal to Egypt and pledges to pressure it with the human rights file

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Washington (AFP)

The United States announced Tuesday that it had agreed to a deal to sell weapons to Egypt for about $ 200 million, while pledging to put pressure on Cairo in the human rights file, after an American activist of Egyptian origin declared that his relatives in his home country had been subjected to security harassment because of his filing before the American court. A lawsuit accusing the Egyptian authorities of torturing him.

The administration of President Joe Biden, which has stopped US support for Saudi-led military operations in Yemen and suspended the sale of F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates, has said it has agreed to sell 168 tactical missiles to Egypt.

In a statement, the US State Department stated that it had approved this deal because Egypt “remains an important strategic partner in the Middle East.”

This deal will not be implemented until it is reviewed by Congress, as are all arms sales estimated by the executive branch.

Biden had previously pledged to take a stronger stance on human rights issues in the world than the position adopted by his predecessor, Donald Trump, who was said to have described Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi as his “favorite dictator.”

The disclosure of this deal came after the announcement of Muhammad Sultan, an American citizen of Egyptian origin who was imprisoned in his native country and was released after he gave up his Egyptian nationality, that his relatives in Egypt were subjected to security harassment because of his filing before the American court a lawsuit accusing the Egyptian authorities of torturing him while he was Imprisoned.

A lawyer for Sultan said that plain-clothes Egyptian police officers questioned six members of his client’s family and arrested two of his cousins ​​on Sunday.

Commenting on this issue, State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters that the United States has seen this issue and is currently “studying it.”

“We take allegations of arbitrary arrest or detention very seriously,” he added.

“We will take our values ​​with us in any relationship we have around the world. This includes our close security partners. This includes Egypt.”

And Mohamed Soltan, who was arrested in Egypt in August 2013, is the son of Salah Sultan, a leader in the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned by the Egyptian authorities after Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, who was commander of the army at the time, dismissed Islamist President Mohamed Morsi following popular protests.

In 2015, Mohamed Soltan was released and deported to the United States after he renounced his Egyptian nationality.

In June, this activist filed a lawsuit in a US court accusing the Egyptian authorities of torturing him while he was imprisoned there. Last month, he collaborated with members of the US Congress to form a parliamentary task force dedicated to promoting human rights in Egypt.

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