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Amnesty: World leaders should stop Sisi’s repressive crackdown

September 25, 2019 at 11:09 am

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi speaks during the celebration of Africa Day, in Cairo, Egypt, on 25 May 2019 [Egyptian President Office]

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has called on world leaders to act to stop Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi’s repressive crackdown on protesters.

Over the past week, Egyptians have heeded a call made by the exiled, former army contractor Mohamed Ali to take to the streets and call on the general to stand down.

In a series of videos detailing his work with the armed forces which went viral, Ali confirmed that the government and the military are squandering millions of pounds of public money on vanity projects as they roll out severe austerity measures in the country.

Al-Sisi has blamed the protests on “political Islam” and cast them as “lies” and “slander”. He has blocked the BBC for reporting on what is happening in the country.

Amnesty has documented how Egyptian security forces are rounding up journalists, activists, lawyers and political figures to silence critics and dissuade further protests.

Yesterday MEMO published a video filmed by the wife of journalist Sayed Abdella, showing how security forces trashed the house after arresting her husband.

Also, yesterday police arrested six members of the Istiqlal Party at dawn, the biggest crackdown on one political party after the Muslim Brotherhood.

On Sunday the award-winning human rights lawyer, Mahienour El-Massry was arrested after attending judicial investigations into protesters who had been arrested.

The Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights estimates at least 964 arrests and detentions have taken place since the 20 September protests began.

WATCH: ‘Down with Sisi’, wife of detained journalist films aftermath of arrest

Amnesty’s call comes on the heels of the UN General Assembly in New York in which world leaders met with Al-Sisi. Rights groups have long been calling for global leaders to reconsider their relationship with one of the most repressive regimes in the world, and to stop putting lucrative trade and arms deals above human rights.

Sisi Era - Cartoon [Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

Sisi Era – Cartoon [Carlos Latuff/MiddleEastMonitor]

However, at the UN meeting UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is facing fresh calls to resign after the Supreme Court ruled that his advice to the Queen to prorogue parliament was “unlawful”, reconfirmed his commitment to working with Egypt to build a bilateral relationship.

US President Trump has supported Al-Sisi. “I’m not concerned with it,” he said on calls made by protesters for the dictator to stand down. “Egypt has a great leader. He’s highly respected.”

Ahead of a new wave of protests expected this Friday Amnesty is calling on world leaders to confront Al-Sisi and condemn the crackdown.

“The world must not stand silently by as President Al-Sisi tramples all over Egyptians’ rights to peaceful protest and freedom of expression,” said North Africa Campaigns Director at Amnesty, Najia Bounaim.

She added: “Instead of escalating this repressive backlash, the Egyptian authorities must immediately release all those detained for peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly and allow further protests on Friday to go ahead.”

READ: Mohamed Ali reveals Egypt’s attempt to assassinate him in Spain