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After Brunson, Congress demands Egypt release US prisoner

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., says he won’t release $105 million in US military aid unless Cairo releases Egyptian-American Moustafa Kassem.
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 26, 2018.      REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RC1CC1A433D0

The top Democrat on the Senate’s spending panel will continue to hold up $105 million in US military aid to Egypt until Cairo shows progress toward releasing an Egyptian-American detained during a military crackdown five years ago.

Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy, the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, wants the State Department to get an update from Egypt on 53-year-old Moustafa Kassem before the assistance is released. Kassem, a former New York cab driver, was swept up in mass arrests as President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in 2013.

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