Breaking: Biden administration approves arms sale to Egypt despite human rights abuses
The administration of US President Joe Biden has approved an arms sale worth nearly $200 million to Egypt despite concerns over human rights violations in the North African country.
According to reports, the sale “will support the foreign policy and national security of the United States by helping to improve the security of a Major Non-NATO ally country that continues to be an important strategic partner in the region,” the State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement.
The $197 million sale of the Raytheon-made Rolling Airframe Missiles was requested by the Egyptian navy to improve defense in coastal areas and around the Red Sea, the US Department of State said.
Washington’s arms sale comes only days after the arrest in Egypt of family members of a US-based Egyptian opposition activist, Mohamed Soltan.
Price said Washington was “looking into” reports about the targeting relatives of Soltan, who has filed a lawsuit alleging torture in Egyptian custody.
He said plainclothes officers raided the homes of six of his family members on Sunday, detaining two cousins.
Soltan was arrested in August 2013 after President Abel Fatah el-Sisi led the military ouster of elected president Mohamed Morsi.
He was released in 2015, and deported to the United States after renouncing his Egyptian citizenship. He spent 490 days on hunger strike before being released.