CAIRO: The Cairo Criminal Court turned down a formal petition submitted by the U.S. consul on behalf of the State Department Wednesday to release Mohamed Soltan , an Egyptian-American defendant jailed pending trial who is on a hunger strike.
The consul was allowed to attend the court session, and personally handed a letter to Judge Mohamed Shehata, who rejected the request
Since his hunger strike began in January in protest at his “unfair detention,” Soltan has reportedly lost over the third of his weight. He appeared in a leaked video in May calling on the U.S. government to help him.
The 26-year-old is being tried in a high-profile case along with over 50 other defendants, including his own father Salah, who is a prominent Muslim Brotherhood leader. Soltan senior was arrested in September 2013 at the Cairo Airport before traveling to Sudan.
The defendants, who include Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie, are charged with forming an “operation room” to set plans and direct supporters of the Islamist group to spread chaos, torch police stations, private properties and churches.
Masses of pro-Morsi protesters took to streets in the wake of the violent dispersal of the Rabaa al-Adaweya sit-in, where hundreds were killed by the police. A large number of churches and police stations were raided and set to fire in several governorates during their marches.