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US Confirms Avoidable Death of Egyptian-American Moustafa Kassem in Custody

WASHINGTON/CAIRO—The United States on Monday confirmed the death of Egyptian-American Moustafa Kassem in a prison in Egypt where he had been in custody since 2013, and vowed to continue raising concerns over Cairos human rights record.

Egypt said Tuesday it would investigate the death of Kassem, who had gone on a hunger strike as part of a six-year battle against what he insisted was wrongful imprisonment.

Egypts state prosecutor said Kassem died in a Cairo hospital on Monday, saying in a statement an autopsy had been ordered to determine the cause of death. The prosecutor said Kassem had been transferred on Sunday from a jail hospital to the Cairo university hospital.

The prosecutor also said officials are questioning all doctors who oversaw Kassems care in prison and at the hospital where he died.

Kassem, who had been on a liquid-only hunger strike to protest his conviction, stopped taking liquids last Thursday, rights group Pretrial Rights International said in a statement. The group, which said it was representing Kassem and his family, also said that Kassem died on Monday in a hospital.

“I am deeply saddened to learn today the death of U.S. citizen Moustafa Kassem whod been imprisoned in Egypt,” the U.S. assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, David Schenker, told a State Department briefing.

“His death in custody was needless, tragic, and avoidable,” Schenker said. “I will continue to raise our serious concerns over human rights and Americans detained in Egypt at every opportunity.”

U.S. Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker
U.S. Assistant Secretary of Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker (2nd-R) speaks with Saudi army officers during a visit to a military base in Al-kharj in central Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 5, 2019. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

The case has trained a spotlight on the dangers of Egyptian prisons, where many inmates are serving time for crimes they insist they did not commit, or have not been charged at all.

Kassem was sentenced to prison in September 2018, along witRead More – Source