Cairo Asks U.S. to Free Last Egyptian at Guantanamo
Egypt has asked the United States to free an Egyptian held at Guantanamo Bay since 2001 and who had been charged with backing terrorist groups in Afghanistan, the Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
It was the latest move by the Muslim Brotherhood-led administration to secure freedom for Egyptians jailed for Islamist militancy at home and abroad in the few weeks since President Mohamed Mursi was sworn in.
During his campaign for the presidency, Mursi promised to work for the release of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the spiritual leader of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiya who is serving a life sentence in the United States for planning attacks in New York.
Analysts doubt he will succeed. Mursi did not raise the case during a July 14 meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Cairo, Clinton said when asked about the issue.
“Seeking the release of Islamist prisoners of some sort or another certainly seems to be one of the early themes of his presidency,” said Shadi Hamid of the Brookings Doha Center, saying it appeared to be driven by domestic politics.
Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr sent a letter to Clinton on Tuesday asking for the release of Tarek El Sawah, the last Egyptian held in Guantanamo, spokesman Amr Roshdy said.