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Mohamed Soltan released in Egypt after long-term hunger strike

An Egyptian-American citizen has been released from prison in Cairo and is returning to the United States
Mohamed Soltan in Jordan in 2012 where he travelled to deliver aid to Syrian refugees (MEE/Free Soltan)

Egypt on Saturday released from prison long-term hunger striker Mohamed Soltan, who is now travelling to the United States, his family said in a statement.

"We are incredibly happy to confirm that Mohamed is on his way home after nearly two years in captivity," the family said on Facebook. "After extensive efforts, the US government has successfully secured Mohamed’s deportation back home to the US, mercifully concluding this dark chapter for Mohamed and our family."

Egyptian-American Soltan was arrested in August 2013, after working as an activist at the Rabaa al-Adawiya Square sit-in, where Muslim Brotherhood supporters were killed in their hundreds after a military coup ousted the country's first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi.

He has been on hunger strike for more than 489 days, which is one of the longest - if not the longest - hunger strikes in the world.

His family said Soltan's health is poor and they are looking forward to have him home.

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

Egyptian officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that Soltan left Egypt on a flight for the US, which will stop off in Germany.

The officials said Soltan used an American passport to leave the country. His lawyer said he had to renounce his Egyptian citizenship in exchange for his freedom, according to local news site Aswat Masriya.

More to follow...

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