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Egypt’s President Sisi is Facing Growing Pressure as Prisoners Continue Hunger Strike



CAIRO—Greater than 300 prisoners are staging a starvation strike in a Cairo jail to protest punishment beatings and different harsh remedy in detention, a day after an Egyptian-American twin citizen died in custody, opposition activists stated.

U.S.-Egyptian twin nationwide Moustafa Kassem, who was 54, died in jail on Monday after an extended starvation strike. He had been held since 2013, on what he stated have been false fees of becoming a member of a protest, regardless of efforts by senior U.S. leaders to safe his launch.

“His loss of life in custody was useless, tragic, and avoidable,” stated David Schenker, the State Division’s Assistant Secretary of Close to Jap Affairs, chatting with reporters in Washington Monday.

Mr. Kassem’s loss of life and the continuing starvation strike spotlight what human rights teams say is a disaster of neglect inside Egypt’s prisons below President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. 1000’s of individuals have been arrested in a authorities effort to stamp out political dissent, with a few of these detained in a current wave of arrests saying they’ve been crushed, strangled and burned with cigarettes, The Wall Avenue Journal has reported. In accordance Human Rights Watch, some prisoners are held in cells with out beds and mattresses and have been denied medical remedy.

Former President Morsi, an Islamist chief elected in 2012, died in custody in June 2019 after his household and Western officers warned that his life was in danger as a consequence of medical neglect within the jail the place he was held because the 2013 coup.

The hanging prisoners are demanding an investigation into the loss of life of one other prisoner, journalist Mahmoud Abdel Majid Saleh, who died Jan. 5 after failing to obtain ample medical care regardless of his deteriorating well being, in response to activists. He was 47 years previous. Prisoners are additionally demanding blankets, the flexibility to depart their cells as soon as a day, and the best to household visits, the group stated.

A watchtower at Cairo’s Tora jail, the place prisoners have begun a starvation strike to protest poor situations.


amr abdallah dalsh/Reuters

An Egyptian authorities spokesman didn’t instantly reply to calls and messages requesting touch upon the prisoners’ deaths and the continuing starvation strike.

The Egyptian authorities has resisted American stress on safety and human rights points regardless of a heat private relationship between President Trump and Egypt’s Mr. Sisi.

Vice President

Mike Pence

urged Mr. Sisi to launch Mr. Kassem throughout a go to to Egypt in January 2018.

In current months the U.S. has threatened Egypt with sanctions after Cairo determined to purchase fighters jets from Russia.

Mr. Trump has repeatedly expressed admiration for Mr. Sisi’s fashion of management and even referred to the Egyptian chief as “my favourite dictator” throughout a gathering of the Group of Seven in France in August 2019.

A former chief of the armed forces, Mr. Sisi got here to energy after main a lethal navy coup that deposed Mr. Morsi, the previous president, in 2013. His authorities has outlawed most protests and jailed 1000’s in an try and keep away from a repeat of the 2011 revolution that ended the 30 12 months dictatorship of President

Hosni Mubarak.

Mr. Kassem’s loss of life this week triggered condemnation from members of Congress who’ve forged an more and more essential eye on Mr. Trump’s dealings with Egypt and different Center Jap allies similar to Saudi Arabia.

“It’s a tragedy & outrage that U.S. citizen Moustafa Kassem died whereas detained in an Egyptian jail after being held since 2013. It’s unacceptable that an American accomplice would unjustly detain a U.S. citizen & let him die in jail,” stated

Sen. Marco Rubio


Write to Jared Malsin at

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Trump Legal Team to Ask Senate for Speedy Acquittal in Impeachment Trial



WASHINGTON — President Trump’s authorized group will name on the Senate on Monday to “swiftly reject” the impeachment expenses and acquit him, sustaining that he dedicated no impeachable offense and has been the sufferer of an illegitimate partisan effort to take him down.

In a prolonged temporary to be submitted to the Senate the day earlier than his trial begins in earnest, the president’s attorneys plan to take advantage of sustained argument the White Home has superior because the Home opened its impeachment inquiry final fall, contending that the 2 articles of impeachment authorized largely alongside celebration strains have been constitutionally flawed and set a harmful precedent.

Mr. Trump’s attorneys plan to dismiss the largely party-line impeachment by the Home as a “overtly political act” following a “rigged course of” that needs to be repudiated by the Senate, in response to an individual working along with his authorized group, who spoke on situation of anonymity forward of the submission of the trial temporary. They are going to argue that neither of the articles of impeachment towards Mr. Trump are legitimate as a result of they don’t state a violation of the legislation and they might in impact attempt to punish the president for overseas coverage selections and efforts to protect govt prerogatives.

The temporary doesn’t deny that Mr. Trump pressured Ukraine to announce investigations into Democrats, together with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., however argues that the president has the fitting to conduct relations with different international locations as he sees match and that he had legitimate causes to lift these points with Ukraine to combat corruption.

The attorneys plan to dismiss the notion that doing so was an abuse of energy, as outlined within the first article of impeachment, calling {that a} “novel concept” and a “newly invented” offense that may enable Congress to second-guess presidents for official coverage selections.

They are going to argue that the second article, accusing him of obstructing Congress by blocking testimony and refusing to show over paperwork through the Home impeachment inquiry, would violate separation of powers by invalidating a president’s proper to confidential deliberations.

The Home Democratic managers had their very own midday deadline to provide a response to a shorter submitting by Mr. Trump’s group on Saturday that responded to the impeachment expenses towards him. Democrats will argue that Mr. Trump’s conduct was not solely adequately confirmed through the course of their inquiry however clearly meets the usual laid out by the framers of the Structure for impeachable offenses.

The president weighed in himself from Florida, the place he was spending the vacation weekend, complaining that he had not been handled pretty and dismissing calls for by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the minority chief, and different Democrats for a trial that would come with witnesses and testimony that the president has thus far blocked.

“Cryin’ Chuck Schumer is now asking for ‘equity’, when he and the Democrat Home members labored collectively to verify I received ZERO equity within the Home,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “So, what else is new?”

He additionally dismissed Democratic calls for that the Senate name John R. Bolton, his former nationwide safety adviser, as a witness through the trial.

“They didn’t need John Bolton and others within the Home,” Mr. Trump wrote. “They have been in an excessive amount of of a rush. Now they need all of them within the Senate. Not presupposed to be that approach!”

This can be a growing story. Please test again for updates.

Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Nicholas Fandos contributed reporting from Washington.

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The Senate should use its awesome power properly



It ought to reassure journalists that even a US president can bury the principle level of a narrative. In Donald Trump’s written response to his personal impeachment, filed by his attorneys on Saturday, greater than 200 phrases cross earlier than an easy protestation of innocence. The preamble majors as a substitute on the motives of his pursuers. The Democrats want solely to “overturn” the final election, he says, and “intrude with” the subsequent one. It’s a “harmful assault” on democracy.

That is unfaithful. Proof abounds that Mr Trump actually did press Ukraine to research his home political opponents final 12 months. The articles of impeachment handed by the Home of Representatives in December represent a prima facie case to reply. If something, the case has grown in weight since then. Paperwork from Lev Parnas, an affiliate of Mr Trump’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani, present the latter requesting to satisfy the Ukrainian president, seemingly on Mr Trump’s behalf.

The Democrats had no selection however to convey issues to this cross, even when, as appears virtually sure, the Republican Senate acquits him within the upcoming trial. In truth, if impeachment backfires, and the president rides an incensed Republican base all the best way to re-election in November, it might nonetheless have been worse to let the Ukraine scandal blow over for the sake of politics. Extra probably, although, the entire course of could have had no huge electoral impression both means. Such is American partisanship, so many minds had been already made up.

The conduct of the Senate proceedings is certain to be as political because the eventual vote. Democrats need the brand new proof thought-about and a wider vary of witnesses known as. Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority chief, prefers a slender trial. The query of whether or not former nationwide safety adviser John Bolton will testify stays contested.

Course of issues right here. A speedy acquittal would enable the president to show the State of the Union speech on February four right into a lap of honour. It will additionally minimise the time and area for embarrassing revelations to come back out. Democrats who know that Mr Trump is not going to be convicted nonetheless sense that he hates the stress of the impeachment course of. The longer it goes on, the extra probably he’s snap, to their benefit.

Regardless of the politics of the matter, the pursuit of reality requires a extra expansive trial. It isn’t as if a wealthy legislative agenda is being crowded out within the meantime. Washington has been on an election footing since no less than the beginning of the 12 months. A few of the Senators who will determine Mr Trump’s future are in Iowa campaigning to interchange him.

A considerable trial would additionally ship the message that impeachment is a critical matter. A swift acquittal after a cursory take a look at the proof would make the Home’s vote in December appear a nuisance, not a historic occasion with solely two precedents. Certainly, the Senate, not often a physique to minimize its personal grandeur, would additionally diminish itself if it used its vital constitutional energy to convict or acquit a president in a hurried method. Mr McConnell has already undercut the Senate’s dignity by so brazenly aligning himself with the White Home, a definite department of presidency and, for a lot of the republic’s historical past, not a superior one.

Mr Trump is heading for the future that was written as quickly because the Ukraine scandal broke. Impeachment adopted by acquittal — each alongside social gathering strains — has appeared inevitable since final summer season. By airing and scrutinising as a lot data as attainable, a saga so tainted with partisanship can nonetheless go away a constructive legacy.

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World Leaders Agree to Back Cease-Fire in Lengthy Libyan Civil War



BERLIN—Worldwide backers of the 2 principal sides of the battle in Libya agreed to help a cease-fire and uphold an embargo on the arms and financing which can be fueling the almost decadelong battle.

The settlement, brokered by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was signed in Berlin by the regional powers concerned within the battle within the presence of commanders for the 2 principal Libyan sides. Leaders from the 2 sides didn’t meet with one another.

The summit was geared toward ending the combating within the oil-rich North African nation, which plunged into chaos after the U.S. and different Western powers helped oust former chief Moammar Gadhafi in a 2011 rebellion. The disaster created a route for unlawful migration to Europe, and enabled the phobia teams Islamic State and al Qaeda to realize a foothold.

Sunday’s deal should now be permitted by the United Nations Safety Council. A second summit, on account of happen within the coming weeks, would set out particulars for a everlasting cease-fire and restoring statehood in Libya. A set of conclusions signed by the convention contributors known as on the U.N. Safety Council to watch the cease-fire and deploy sanctions in opposition to any get together violating the truce.

Leaders and high officers from Turkey, Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, together with the U.S., Italy, and France attended Sunday’s convention, along with the heads of the 2 Libyan camps battling for management of the capital. The U.S. was represented by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

U.Okay. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, third from left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, second from proper, meet on the sidelines of the peace summit on Libya in Berlin


aleksey nikolskyi/Agence France-Presse/Getty Photos

In a press convention following the summit, Ms. Merkel stated that every one contributors agreed to a cease-fire and to uphold an present U.N. weapons embargo, whereas the warring camps pledged to begin peace talks.

The summit comes after almost 9 months of fixed combating that has plunged Libya into one in every of its worst crises for the reason that fall of Gadhafi.

Hostilities escalated final 12 months when Khalifa Haftar, a former commander within the Libyan army who leads a faction based mostly within the nation’s east, attacked Tripoli, which is managed by the U.N.-backed authorities of Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Mr. Haftar is backed by Russia, Egypt and Gulf nations, whereas Turkey just lately dispatched troops to help Mr. Sarraj.


What constructive steps ought to senior world leaders encourage in Libya? Be a part of the dialog under.

Greater than 2,200 civilians and fighters have been killed since then within the combating, based on the U.N.

Libya’s two principal warring factions started a tentative cease-fire on Jan. 12. However the authorities has accused Mr. Haftar’s forces of repeatedly violating the truce, together with with an airstrike in town of Abu Grein, south of Misrata, on Saturday, and shelling within the capital that hit an oil storage facility on Sunday.

In an one other escalation in opposition to the acknowledged authorities, the jap faction led by Mr. Haftar shut down half of Libya’s oil manufacturing solely a day earlier than the convention was on account of start. That follows a failed effort in Moscow final week to persuade each events to signal a truce settlement.

Ms. Merkel acknowledged that establishing and sustaining a cease-fire may stay a problem.

“It’s not easy to maintain a 100% cease-fire due to the various forces concerned. However I hope the convention has given an opportunity for a long-lasting cease-fire since all contributors agreed to it,” Ms. Merkel stated.

Nonetheless, the declaration consists of few specifics on what the area’s powers would do in a different way to implement the weapons ban.

“Clearly there isn’t any price for states to comply with this assertion as a result of they know that they received’t be held to account,” stated Wolfram Lacher, a Libya professional on the German Institute for Worldwide and Safety Affairs.

Mr. Pompeo informed reporters after the convention: “There was progress made in the direction of a full-fledged cease-fire, a truce, non permanent stand-down.”

The internationally acknowledged Libyan authorities in Tripoli welcomed the settlement however stated it fell wanting the enforcement wanted to realize peace within the nation.

“There’s a troubling lack of accountability and sensible assurances within the doc’s present kind,” stated Mohammed Ali Abdallah, an adviser to the Libyan authorities.

Mr. Haftar and Mr. Sarraj agreed to take part within the peace talks often called the 5+5 Committee, based on the summit declaration.

The conclusions of the convention that every one contributors signed additionally embody a pledge to work in the direction of dissolving all armed teams and militias, and the withdrawal of heavy army {hardware} and artillery from Libya’s territory and airspace.

Russia, which was represented on the convention by President Vladimir Putin, has despatched as many as 2,000 contractors from a Kremlin-linked firm to struggle alongside Mr. Haftar’s forces in current months, based on Libyan and U.S. officers. Turkey has additionally despatched drones, armored autos, and Syrian fighters to help the Tripoli authorities. The United Arab Emirates has additionally offered Mr. Haftar’s forces with air energy.

The influx of international arms and troopers has remodeled Libya right into a battlefield with outdoors powers utilizing proxies to struggle for quite a lot of geopolitical and financial pursuits.

Russia is allied with Mr. Haftar, a army strongman, because the Kremlin vies for elevated affect within the Center East and North Africa. The U.A.E. and Saudi Arabia additionally again the commander as they confront Turkey in a battle for energy and competing visions for the area’s politics.

Ms. Merkel, whose county has absorbed the very best variety of asylum seekers since 2015, took the initiative final 12 months to convey the important thing Libyan events and their worldwide backers to the desk.

Mr. Haftar, a former normal in Gadhafi’s military who later joined a CIA-backed marketing campaign in opposition to the regime, has been finishing up a unilateral army marketing campaign that has destabilized Libya for years whereas offering a modicum of safety within the nation’s east. He has rejected previous makes an attempt to finish the battle, together with the U.N.-brokered political settlement that created the present authorities in Tripoli in 2015.

The Sunday declaration features a pledge to ask the U.N. to impose sanctions on anybody violating the arms embargo or the cease-fire, in addition to a requirement to re-establish key Libyan directions, such because the central financial institution and the Nationwide Oil Company, and workers them with representatives from all events. Senior aides to the leaders that met on Sunday will proceed to satisfy on a month-to-month foundation in Berlin.

Write to Bojan Pancevski at, Jared Malsin at and Jessica Donati at

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