An Egyptian-American jailed in Egypt for nearly two years for involvement in the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood has been released and is headed for the United States, his family said on Saturday.
Mohamed Soltan was among thousands detained after President Mohamed Morsi was toppled in 2013 by the military under Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who is now president.
An Egyptian court had condemned Soltan's father, Salah, to death.
"By the grace of God, we are incredibly happy to confirm that Mohamed is on his way home after nearly two years in captivity," Hanaa, Soltan’s sister, wrote on Facebook. "After extensive efforts, the U.S. Government has successfully secured Mohamed’s deportation back home to the U.S., mercifully concluding this dark chapter for Mohamed and our family."
The family has run a campaign to free the 27-year-old, who had been on hunger strike in detention and has appeared emaciated in photographs. U.S. officials had called for an end to his detention, citing concerns about his health.
The United States welcomed his release on Saturday, with a State Department official saying: "We believe this step brings a conclusion to this case and we are glad Mr. Soltan will now be reunited with his family in the United States."
A court said Mohamed had supported the Brotherhood movement and transmitted false news. His family denies he was a member of the Brotherhood, unlike his father, who was a senior figure in the group.
"As you can imagine, after spending several hundred days on hunger strike, and many months in solitary confinement, Mohamed's health is dire," said Hanaa.
"He will receive medical treatment as soon as he arrives on U.S. soil and will spend the immediate future with his family recovering."
After toppling Morsi, Sisi launched the toughest crackdown on protesters in Egypt's history. Security forces killed hundreds at street demonstrations and jailed thousands of others.
Hanaa Soltan has said in the past that her brother, who had studied at Ohio State University, had hoped for peaceful change in Egypt following the 2011 overthrow of long-term president Hosni Mubarak.
Egypt has outlawed the Brotherhood and accused it of carrying out bombings. The Brotherhood says it is a peaceful movement committed to democracy.
Al Jazeera and Reuters