There are no political prisoners in Egypt, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi has said in an interview with France 24.
“We have imprisoned no political activists,” Sisi told the French channel, stressing that “everything has been done according to the law, within its jurisdiction. Our friends can come and confirm this themselves”.
Several human rights organisations have recently released reports stating that Egypt is experiencing “the worst human rights crisis in decades” as well as highlighting the presence of thousands of political prisoners in Egyptian prisons. In response, Sisi stressed that “Egypt is doing its best to respect human rights, Egyptians have elected me to undertake this task”.
The president called on the rights organisations to expand their work and conduct thorough overviews on the human rights conditions in Egypt, noting that “I did not accuse any organisation of any charge”.
“These organisations should know more about the Egyptian situation, as sometimes matters are being covered in an inaccurate way, he underlined, stating that “there is a systematic campaign against Egypt”.
“Where are the human rights of martyrs, their families, children, widows and mothers who lost their sons in the terrorist incidents during the past three years,” he reiterated.
During the interview, the Egyptian leader discussed a number of regional and international issues, particularly the Syrian crisis, the Libyan conflict as well as Egypt’s continuous efforts in combating terrorism.
Sisi arrived yesterday in Paris for a three day visit to meet with his French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, during which he is also slated to meet the country’s defence and foreign ministers and French business groups.
Ahead of the trip Human Rights Watch called on Macron to end France’s “disgraceful policies of indulgence” and call out Egypt’s abysmal human rights record.
In 2015 Egypt signed a 5.2 million euro ($6.1 million) military contract with France after which Egypt received 42 Rafale aircrafts. During the same year Sisi and the former French Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, signed another 950 million euro ($1.1 billion) agreement in Cairo, through which Egypt received two Mistral-class helicopters.