On March 16, 2015, the news broke that Dr. Salah Soltan, the father of the imprisoned Mohamed Soltan and longtime leader in Muslim American and Egyptian communities, had been sentenced to death by the corrupt Egyptian courts. His sentencing came alongside those of leader Mohamed Badie and thirteen other members of the group, who were found guilty by Egypt’s judicial agency for inciting chaos and planning attacks on police and army institutions.
Now, the case has been formally referred on by the court to the grand mufti, Egypt’s highest Islamic legal official, the first step towards imposing a death sentence. The court is expected to issue a final verdict on April 11, during which defendants can appeal.
Just a few years earlier, Dr. Soltan had been hailed by American media as “one of the most respected Islamic scholars in the country.” Now, there is deafening silence both from the media and government officials. As the former secretary general in the Higher Council for Islamic Affairs, Dr. Soltan wrote a letter outlining the horrific treatment political prisoners in the Egyptian prison system were being subjected to:
“We receive nothing from the outside world; neither family visits nor our requests of food, medicine and treatment, despite a number of inmates suffering from chronic and serious illnesses. We only have one change of clothes which hardly keeps us warm and neither do we have covers or mattresses; just one blanket that functions as a mattress and a cover.
Forgotten amidst all this are the countless humanitarian efforts Dr. Soltan undertook for the sake of the greater Muslim and Egyptian communities. As a well-known professor at Cairo University, he devoted countless hours improving the lives of university students amidst a crippling regime. Having spent his life tirelessly working for the community, he is now being treated no more than a common criminal.
Mohamed and Dr. Salah Soltan are charged with “forming an operations room to direct the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group to defy the government during the Rabaa [Al-Adaweya] sit-in dispersal and to spread chaos in the country”, according to a statement released by the Prosecutor General’s office on 3 February. Alongside Muslim Brotherhood Supreme guide Mohamed Badei, who is also a defendant in the trial, the Soltans form part of a group of 52 defendants in the case.
The decision is the latest in a crushing blow against Egypt’s hopes of democracy. Dr. Salah Soltan has only been an advocate for democracy and justice in the country, and his noble work has given the corrupt Egyptian government the ability to throw his son, Mohamed Soltan, in prison, and rip the family apart. While Salah’s wife is seriously sick, the courts have instead decided that their twisted agendas need to be pushed forward.