US lifts arms embargo on Egypt – Al Jazeera English
The United States has announced it is lifting its hold on the supply of military equipment to Egypt, which was frozen when the military took power in Cairo nearly two years ago.
The White House said President Barack Obama was freeing up the equipment and making other changes to military ties with Washington’s long-time ally to support US interests while encouraging Egypt’s political reforms.
This was “in the interest of US national security,” National Security Council spokesperson Bernadette Meehan said.
Obama directed the release of 12 Lockheed Martin F-16 aircraft, 20 Boeing Harpoon missiles, and up to 125 M1A1 Abrams tank kits made by General Dynamics, she said.
The reason why Barack Obama’s actions are unconscionable is made clear by the Reprieve press release below, as well as many other Reprieve press releases that preceded it.
Reprieve: + 44 (0) 207 553 8160
For immediate release: Tue, March 31, 2015
Bailed Al Jazeera journalist urges help for ‘decent teenager’ Ibrahim Halawa
Al Jazeera journalist Mohamed Fahmy, on bail awaiting his retrial in Egypt, has urged the Irish government and the international community to save a teenager from Dublin with whom he recently shared a cell.
Ibrahim Halawa was 17 and on holiday with family when he was arrested in August 2013 during the Egyptian military’s breakup of protests. He faces a death sentence if convicted alongside 493 other people on nearly identical charges. The controversial ‘mass trial’, which includes several other juveniles alongside Mr Halawa, was postponed on Sunday for the fifth time in seven months. It emerged yesterday that Mr Halawa is now being held alongside prisoners who have been condemned to death at Wadi Natrun, reportedly one of Egypt’s worst jails. [emphasis added]
Speaking to the Toronto Star, Mr Fahmy, who was jailed in Cairo in 2014 along with his colleagues Peter Greste and Baher Mohamed, urged the Irish government to press for Mr Halawa’s deportation under the presidential decree that led to Mr Greste’s release several weeks ago.
Mr Fahmy said: “Any delay in extracting [Ibrahim Halawa] could leave him caught up for years in Egypt’s clogged judicial system and possibly a victim on death row if the world turns a blind eye to his pitiful situation.” He added that Mr Halawa was “a decent teenager who has committed no crime.”
On Sunday, Mr Halawa told his family that he was being mistreated and denied food in the prison, and that he was afraid he was going to die there.
Commenting, Maya Foa, the director the death penalty team at Reprieve, said: “Mohamed Fahmy is right to condemn this mass trial for what it is – an unspeakable injustice against a scared teenager and hundreds of others who have been put through hell, merely for attending a protest. It’s now clear Ibrahim is being treated so badly that he fears he may die before he can even mount a defence. The Irish government and other countries need to do all they can to press for his release, before any harm comes to him.” [emphasis added]
Notes to editors
1. For more information, please contact Reprieve’s press office: +44 207 553 8160
2. Background on Mr Halawa’s case can be found at Reprieve’s website.
3. Detail on conditions at Wadi Natrun prison can be found in this article.