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Egypt Agrees To Deport U.S. Citizen Sentenced For Protests

Updated at 9:45 a.m. ET

A dual U.S.-Egyptian citizen who spent nearly two years in prison after being swept up in a crackdown on the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood movement has been released and will be deported to the United States.

Mohamed Soltan, 27, was sentenced for helping finance anti-government protests and for spreading "false news."

He had reportedly been on a hunger strike for 489 days and was arrested in August 2013. In April, the Ohio State University graduate was sentenced to life in prison for his support of protests organized after the elected government of President Mohammed Morsi was ousted from power.

His family credited the U.S. government with securing his deportation. As part of the deal, Mohamed was required to renounce his Egyptian citizenship. Mohamed's attorney, Halem Henish, was quoted as saying that the deportation was delayed because "Soltan absolutely rejected the idea of giving up his Egyptian nationality."

"We are incredibly happy to confirm that Mohamed is on his way home after nearly two years in captivity," Soltan's family said in a statement.

"After spending several hundred days on hunger strike, and many months in solitary confinement, Mohammed's health is dire," his family said. "He will receive medical treatment as soon as he arrives on U.S. soil and will spend the immediate future with his family recovering."

In a statement, a senior State Department official said: "The U.S. Government welcomes the release of American citizen Mohamed Soltan. We believe this step brings a conclusion to this case and we are glad Mr. Soltan will now be reunited with his family in the United States."‎

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.
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