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Repression of basic freedoms in Egypt is intensifying, says Human Rights Watch

Egyptian riot police arrest a protester in Cairo, Egypt, 5 March 2013 [Tareq al-Gabas/Apaimages]
Egyptian riot police arrest a protester in Cairo [Tareq al-Gabas/Apaimages, File photo]

Human Rights Watch said yesterday that the repression of basic freedoms in Egypt has intensified. The Egyptian authorities have arrested 50 political activists and blocked at least 62 websites in a matter of weeks, the organisation revealed in a statement on its website.

A response to the HRW allegation could not be obtained from the government in Cairo. The usual response from the authorities to such accusations is that they respect all personal and public rights and freedoms.

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As well as the arrests and internet censorship, said HRW, the Egyptian authorities have opened a criminal prosecution against a former presidential candidate. It did not give details about those detained and the websites blacked. “The actions are further closing any remaining space for free expression,” it added.

Read: EU slams Egypt’s new NGOs law

With regards to Khaled Ali, Human Rights Watch said that he was recently “sent for a fast-track trial on the charge of ‘committing a scandalous act’ in public during a celebratory street protest following the Supreme Administrative Court’s ruling on the Red Sea islands issue in January.”

Ali ran for president in 2012, losing in the first round. He recently expressed the possibility of running against President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in the 2018 presidential election.

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