On Saturday, an American citizen, Mohamed Soltan, was sentenced to life imprisonment in Egypt for his support of an Islamist protest in the summer of 2013, the New York Times reports. The presiding judge sentenced more than 35 other defendants in the case to the same penalty, while fourteen senior members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood were sentenced to death, Reuters reports.
According to the Times, Soltan graduated from The Ohio State University in 2012 and was working in Cairo at a petroleum services company. His father, Salah Soltan, was a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Times reports. Mohamed was critical of the group, but also opposed the military's removal of President Mohamed Morsi. From the Times:
Mr. Soltan began volunteering as a translator for Western journalists covering the Islamist sit-in at Rabaa al-Adawiya Square to protest the takeover. Security forces forcibly broke up the sit-in on Aug. 14, 2013, killing nearly a thousand, according to the best estimates provided by Human Rights Watch and others. Mr. Soltan was shot in the arm during the assault on the sit-in, and the police arrested him at his home several days later. He has remained in jail since then.
He and the others in the case were reportedly accused of joining a command center at the sit-in that sought to spread chaos across Egypt in defiance of the government.
The judge who issued these sentences is the same judge who last summer sentenced three Al Jazeera journalists to seven years in prison. In December, Judge Mohammed Nagi Shehata sentenced more than 180 defendants to death in a single mass trial.