2014-07-31
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Egypt: U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing: Egypt, Somalia

United States Department of State
Excerpt from the United States Department of State Daily Press Briefing
Monday, September 16, 2013

Somalia

QUESTION: Okay. Does the State Department have any comment on the reports that U.S. citizen Omar Hammami was killed in Somalia?

MS. HARF: Yeah. Let me see what I have on that.

We've seen the reports that he was killed in Somalia. We're working to verify them right now. As many of you know, in 2006 Omar Hammami moved to Somalia with the intent to join al-Shabaab. He's alleged to have made significant contributions to this terrorist organization's media and military activities. If I have anything - an update for you, as I get it I will let you all know.

QUESTION: Just a couple quick follow-ups on that.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: One is that the Rewards Program for him has a reward of $5 million.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm. Yes.

QUESTION: Can you speak to why that reward is so high, particularly given the fact that over the last year or so Hammami has not been seen as being as important to the structure of al-Shabaab?

MS. HARF: I don't have an answer for you for why the number is at $5 million. I just don't. I can look into that and if there's something to share about how that's determined. I just don't know that whole process.

QUESTION: And if it is determined, as been reported, that his death came at the hands of other Shabaab members --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- can you speak to how that reward might be distributed?

MS. HARF: Well, it's my understanding that suspects may be actually removed from the Rewards for Justice list for a variety of reasons, including if they are taken into custody by law enforcement, of course, or security forces, but more pertinently here, if they're confirmed dead by an official authoritative source. So in other words, if this eventually turns out to be true, there's a chance he would be taken off of that. The Rewards for Justice Program is a reward for information leading up to the arrest or conviction of people. I would note that as well.

Egypt

QUESTION: One quick one on Egypt.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: There are reports that the Egyptian Government have - has extended the state of emergency for --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- two months. Any comment on that?

MS. HARF: Well, we remain opposed, as we have from the beginning, to the state of emergency. And we urge the interim government to end it immediately, to create an atmosphere where Egyptians on all sides can peacefully exercise their right to freedom of assembly and expression. The interim government and military must ensure due process and that any citizens arrested by police or military are referred only to civilian courts.

QUESTION: One other one on Egypt --

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: -- if I may.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: A - there was a court verdict today under which a series of people were found not guilty of killings in 2011. Do you have any comment on that verdict?

MS. HARF: I haven't seen that verdict. I'm happy to look into it and get back to you.

Yes, in the middle.

QUESTION: Yes, please. Egypt?

MS. HARF: I'll go back to you. Hold on.

QUESTION: I just wanted to follow-up real quickly on Somalia.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Has there been any contact with anybody in this building with Mr. Hammami's family today or recently about his status in Somalia?

MS. HARF: I don't know the answer to that. I can endeavor to get information on that. And if I can share it, I will. Generally speaking, when we can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen overseas, we'll, again as you mentioned, notify the person's next of kin. This is clearly a very unique situation, though, so I don't have any other further updates. If I do, I'm happy to pass them along.

QUESTION: Yes, please, about Egypt.

MS. HARF: Okay, yes. And then I'll go to you.

Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Yeah. You mentioned about the interim government and the emergency law.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you have any contact? I mean, I know that the Secretary met Nabil Fahmy the other day. I mean, it's like it was in Paris.

MS. HARF: Mm-hmm.

QUESTION: Do you have anything regarding any phone call? Any contact regarding this issue specifically?

MS. HARF: Nothing from the Secretary that I'm aware of. I know our folks on the ground remain engaged at high levels on this. If I have any details for you, I can share them. I just don't have any specifics.

QUESTION: The other question is soon - I mean, maybe today or tomorrow in town, it's expected that some Salafi leaders of the Salafi party will be here and others - or considered who is Islamist organization leaders will be here in town for participating in a conference. Is there any meeting between them and any official in this building?

MS. HARF: I'm actually not familiar with what you're referring to. I'll look into it and get back to you.





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