Egypt on Saturday deported a US-Egyptian citizen sentenced to life in jail on charges of destabilising the country as part of a crackdown on the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood, officials said.
Mohamed Soltan, 27, whose father is a leading Brotherhood official, was arrested in August 2013 and sentenced to life in April.
He has been observing a hunger strike since January 2014, amid concern from his relatives in the United States who fear for his health and say charges against him were fabricated.
A police official said Soltan was put on a plane to the United States and the US embassy in Cairo confirmed his deportation.
“We can confirm his departure. We are happy that he will be reunited with his family in the United States,” an embassy spokesman told AFP.
Soltan worked with media outlets covering the political upheaval that erupted in Egypt after the army deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi and a crackdown on his supporters.
Morsi was ousted by then-army chief and now President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in July 2013 after mass street protests against his one-year rule.
A government crackdown has left hundreds of Morsi supporters dead, thousands imprisoned and dozens sentenced to death after speedy trials, described by the UN as “unprecedented in recent history”.
One of those sentenced to death in such a trial was Soltan’s father, Salah.
The Brotherhood, from whose ranks Morsi hails, was also listed as a “terrorist organisation”.
Soltan was released from jail in line with a presidential decree stipulating foreigners convicted in Egypt can be deported to their home countries.
But to do so he had renounce his Egyptian nationality, said his brother Omar Soltan, who welcomed the news his brother had been freed.
“The news of Mohamed’s deportation have taken an enormous load of worry off our backs and has replaced it with joy and happiness,” Omar wrote in English, in an email sent to AFP.
“Our hopes are that Mohamed hasn’t suffered any permanent damage to his body and that he has an easy recovery.”
Soltan’s family also expressed relief he had been freed “after spending several hundred days on hunger strike, and many months in solitary confinement”.
“Mohamed’s health is dire. He will receive medical treatment as soon as he arrives on US soil,” it said in a statement.
State news agency MENA meanwhile quoted the state prosecutor that Soltan will have serve the rest of his sentence in the United States, in line with the presidential decree allowing him to leave Egypt.