Human Rights Watch (HRW) condemned, Thursday, US President Donald Trump’s remarks on Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, during their recent meeting at the United Nations.
In a statement posted on its Web site, the international organisation condemned Trump’s description of Al-Sisi as “the great leader who has brought Egypt out of turmoil.”
HRW pointed out that Trump’s praise comes “days after widespread protests erupted in numerous Egyptian cities after an Egyptian contractor, who had worked with Egypt’s top brass for years, posted videos on social media detailing alleged corruption in Al-Sisi’s inner circle.”
The organisation addressed Al-Sisi’s blaming of the protests on “political Islam,” claiming: “The slogans and chants had nothing to do with Islam. The protests appeared to be sparked by allegations of corruption, harsh suppression of civil society, the military’s abusive campaign in the Sinai, the massive incarceration of dissidents and impoverishment blamed on Al-Sisi’s economic policies. ”
HRW recalled the violations Al-Sisi’s regime has committed since the 2013 military coup, adding: “Over the last seven years, security forces have killed more than 500 people in apparent extrajudicial killings and suspicious raids. Thousands have been convicted in unfair trials, often on bogus charges.”
“More than 20 journalists remain in jail for doing their jobs, and the government has blocked hundreds of websites (including Human Rights Watch). Among al-Sisi’s political prisoners are at least six US citizens (the number may be as high as 18),” continued HRW.
The organisation went on: “Prison overcrowding and deplorable conditions have contributed to the deteriorating health and likely the deaths of scores, including former president Mohamed Morsi. Torture is endemic.”
HRW criticised US-Egyptian relations in light of these violations, noting that “last month, Secretary of State Michael Pompeo waived the congressional restrictions on the Fiscal Year 2018 funding and authorised the release of the $300 million that had been conditioned on human rights improvements, citing national security concerns, given the state of affairs in Egypt.”
The organisation also pointed out that “long-term relations between Egypt and the United States do not justify the administration’s coddling of Al-Sisi and turning a blind eye to his government’s massive human rights violations.”
“These latest protests make clear that Egyptians have not forgotten the 2011 dream of living in a country that respects and protects their basic rights. The US government should likewise be clear that it stands by Egyptians’ hopes and aspirations,” HRW concluded.
The operation room of the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights received 1,909 reports of arrest and detention cases so far. About 1,841 males and 68 girls and women have been arrested and detained in 20 governorates since the beginning of recent events. It pointed out that “investigations were carried out with 977 of them, while 924 people are left with no official information about them.”