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Hunger-Striking Jersey City Student Released From Egyptian Prison After 486 Days

The Freedom Initiative
The Freedom Initiative Photo Credit: The Freedom Initiative (Facebook)

A 24-year-old Jersey City student was released from an Egyptian jail after spending 486 days behind bars.

Mohamed Amashah was released from the Cairo jail Sunday, where he was being held on pretrial detention for holding up a sign that read “Freedom to All Prisoners” in Tahrir Square, ABC News reports.

Amashah, who holds dual American-Egyptian citizenship, was reunited with his family when he flew home Monday, according to the Freedom Initiative group.

In March, Amashah started a hunger strike over fears he might contract coronavirus in the jail, where health and hygiene conditions are poor.

Although more than a dozen prisoners contracted COVID-19, the Egyptian government reportedly denied prison outbreaks and said only that an employee at Tora prison, who died in May, had tested positive.

Amashah's release is the product of pressure from key U.S. committees on Egyptian officials demanding his release, according to Freedom Initiative group Founder Mohamed Soltan.

"Amashah was forced to recuse his Egyptian Citizenship in exchange for his freedom," Soltan told ABC News. "This allowed the government to use the foreigner deportation law to deport him out of the country."

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