Egypt’s Human Rights Committee have announced that they will be filing an official complaint against Human Rights Watch (HRW) after the NGO released a damning report on state torture, Egyptian newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat reported on Saturday.
A parliamentary delegation is expected to officially raise the issue during its participation in the Inter-Parliamentary Union conference in St Petersburg later this week. Margaret Azer, a member of the delegation and second deputy chairman of the human rights committee, said that they would “reveal the lies of the organisation”.
The 63-page report was condemned by the Egyptian government after it found that President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s government has allowed widespread arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances and the abuse of detainees, in what they termed “an assembly line of torture”.
Some 19 former detainees, who were interviewed as part of the investigation, detailed their experiences of abuse, which included beatings, rape, genital electrocutions and fingernail extractions.
The Egyptian Human Rights Committee denied the allegations, claiming that no political prisoners had ever reported incidents of torture. The Foreign Ministry also accused the NGO of bias, questioning its funding and alleging it received support from the Muslim Brotherhood, which Egypt has designated a terrorist organisation.
Two weeks later, President Al-Sisi told US officials in New York that human rights should not be judged from a Western perspective, arguing that Egypt had taken numerous measures to ensure the economic and social wellbeing of its citizens.
Activists have long documented Egypt’s increasing disregard for human rights and the rule of law since the military coup of 2013 that ousted democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi. There are some 60,000 political prisoners in the country; the government also persecutes human rights campaigners and their organisations are subject to severe limitations.