Durbin Discusses Disappearances Of Family Members Of Illinois Resident With Egyptian Ambassador

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), along with U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), today spoke by phone with Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Motaz Zahran about reports of harassment, forced disappearances, and human rights violations in Egypt. During their conversation, Durbin followed up on a letter he and Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Booker sent earlier this year to Zahran, advocating for the release of three family members of Aly Hussin Mahdy, who is a lawful U.S. asylee and Illinois resident, who saw his father, uncle, and cousin jailed after he urged peaceful protests in front of Egyptian embassies. Durbin also spoke in support of President Biden’s announcement to withhold some U.S. aid to Egypt until the country meets necessary human rights benchmarks.

“Today, I was able to speak directly to Ambassador Zahran about the troubling, ongoing disappearance of dissidents and human rights advocates in Egypt.  While Egypt and the United States have enjoyed decades of cooperation on many important items, the relationship and related U.S. assistance can no longer ignore persistent and flagrant human rights abuses” said Durbin. “The family members of human rights advocate and Illinois resident Aly Hussin Mahdy must all be immediately released and further protected from undue harsh treatment.”

Last year, Durbin joined 36 members of Congress in a bicameral letter to al-Sisi on the nation’s consistent violations of human rights and the baseless arrests of detained staff members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights.