Long Island Man Detained In Egypt For Over 6 Years Dies In Prison

WCBS 880 Newsroom
January 14, 2020 - 7:01 pm
Mustafa Kassem

Handout courtesy of Mustafa Kassem's family


WASHINGTON (WCBS 880) — A Long Island man who had been locked up in Egypt for nearly seven years has died in custody.

Moustafa Kassem, a duel citizen from Bethpage, was visiting Egypt in 2013 when he was arrested as part of a crackdown on demonstrators.

His family says he was detained exchanging currency at a mall.

Kassem was one of over 700 people sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Vice President Mike Pence was among the American officials trying to help secure his release.

A State Department official announced Kassem’s passing on Monday at a briefing in Washington, D.C., calling his death “needless,” “tragic” and “avoidable.”

The 64-year-old father of two, who most recently ran an auto-parts business on Long Island, had denied ever taking part in the protests against Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

The Pretrial Rights International and The Freedom Initiative, which represented Kassem, said he was diabetic and possibly died from heart failure.