Put America first: Free innocent U.S. citizens from foreign jails

first_imgIn the case of Turkey, Trump has tried and failed.Both he and Vice President Mike Pence asked Erdogan for the release of an imprisoned American pastor, Andrew Brunson, and were rebuffed.But Turkey, like Egypt, is an ally, and the administration has stopped short of using tools that might create more leverage.How about suspending U.S. military aid and sales to Egypt and Turkey until innocent Americans are released?That would show that Trump really does put America first.Jackson Diehl is deputy editorial page editor of The Washington Post.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Categories: Editorial, OpinionDuring the Christmas season, it’s worth sparing a thought for a shamefully neglected group of Americans — those unjustly locked up in foreign prisons on political grounds.There are at least 40 of them, in five countries, held as trophies or as de facto hostages and bargaining chips by authoritarian regimes seeking leverage over Washington. In many cases, their only offense was to be a U.S. citizen.About 20 of the Americans — the number is hard to pin down — are held by Egypt, a nominal U.S. ally that receives more than $1 billion in aid annually.Several have been held for years without trial. Turkey, a NATO ally, holds another dozen; strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken openly of using them to force the extradition of a Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania.Venezuela this month brought trumped-up weapons charges against Josh Holt, a Mormon missionary arrested 17 months ago — the same week two relatives of President Nicolas Maduro’s wife were sentenced on drug charges in New York. At least three U.S. citizens and a permanent resident are held by Iran — which, along with North Korea, pioneered the practice of seizing Americans on bogus pretexts and then using them to leverage political and economic favors from Washington.Pyongyang, for its part, still holds three Americans months after its release of college student Otto Warmbier, who died days after he was returned to his family. At one time it appeared that the Trump administration might make the aggressive defense of these citizens a signature of its foreign policy.There was plenty of opportunity: The Obama administration often neglected and played down U.S. prisoners in the name of brokering bigger deals and defending larger interests.Fighting for Americans fits well with President Donald Trump’s stated priority of putting America first.In April, Trump pushed Egyptian ruler Abdel Fatah el-Sissi to free Aya Hijazi, who with her husband had spent three years in prison for setting up a nongovernmental organization to help Cairo street children.Hijazi was released several weeks later and flown home on a U.S. government plane for a showy meeting with Trump.Since then, however, Trump and his staff have appeared to lose interest, with some exceptions.Last month the president took credit for getting three UCLA basketball players out of shoplifting charges in China by appealing to President Xi Jinping.center_img Trump then turned on them when they appeared insufficiently grateful. Meanwhile, appeals for White House action on behalf of other prisoners in Egypt — by family members, lawyers and members of Congress — have failed to stir any response.Take the cases of Mostafa Kassem and Ahmed Etiwy, two of the U.S. citizens held by Egypt. Both have been imprisoned since 2013 after being swept up in crackdowns against protests in which they did not participate.Praveen Madhiraju of the Washington-based group Pretrial Rights International said he and two other advocates had contacted officials at the White House and National Security Council a dozen times about the cases but received no response.A letter from Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to Trump in August prompted no visible action.But an Irish citizen arrested in the same mosque crackdown that swept up Etiwy was freed in October after intensive lobbying by the Irish government. The Trump administration did recently launch an effort to free the Americans held in Tehran.But so far there’s been no result — and if Trump carries out his threat to reimpose U.S. sanctions on Iran next month, the initiative will be stillborn.last_img read more

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April 23, 2019, Girona’s first contact with the First Division

first_imgYou have to take a look at the past to try to understand the present and in Girona they have bad memories of what happened just a year ago. The rojiblanco team managed to walk for the First for 71 days with a firm step (his first full season in the gold category of Spanish football and 33 matches of his second), but On April 23, 2019, the beginning of the end arrived. On matchday 34 last year, after falling in Valladolid (1-0) and Levante defeating Betis (4-0), the team led by then Eusebio Sacristán stepped on the relegation positions. It was the first time since the 2016-17 campaign was promoted. The problem, that he did not know how to take off and the end was inevitable: return to Second A.Girona seemed to have found its place in the First Division, but in the confirmation campaign, the second, it collapsed. The pressure, the poor results in the second lap, not being used to dealing with the descent and an eternal confidence in Eusebio Sacristán weighed heavily. On April 23, 2019, on day 34, it was the first time that Girona stepped on the posts that led to Second and in the end it was not known to redirect the situation. And that a day later, in the 35, the rojiblancos achieved a great victory against Sevilla that allowed them to take some oxygen and put two points away from the last three classified. But it was a mirage. The last three league games were insufferable and garnered three defeats that were incompatible with saving the category. The direct rivals managed to add and the Gerundians first fell in Getafe and then against Levante in Montilivi. This left them virtually in Second and The decline was mathematical in the last league match against Alavés at home (2-1). In Girona they still cannot explain exactly what happened, but it is that the team collapsed. It was an announced death and the first time they dealt with relegation in Primera was just a year ago. Incredible but Girona lost the category and now it is their turn to fight in the Second after having only been four days downhill in the two seasons they were in the First. Of course, all of them in their second campaign and at the end of the League. And this was damning.last_img read more

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