Accusations of enforced disappearances are like a “broken record”, Egyptian Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Omar Marwan, said yesterday.
Speaking at a press conference, Marwan stressed that there was “no evidence” that the Egyptian authorities were carrying out enforced disappearances.
The minister called on those who claim that the Egyptian regime was carrying our enforced disappearance, “to provide all the evidence available in their possessions.”
The Shehab Centre for Human Rights recently reported more than 6,421 cases of enforced disappearance in Egypt during the period from 2013–2018.
Since incumbent Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi took power in 2014, the government has launched a crackdown on pro-democracy activists and anyone suspected of opposing his leadership. Local and international human rights groups accuse the Egyptian authorities of carrying out forced disappearances, arbitrary arrests and unlawful detentions of thousands of dissidents. Egypt has consistently denied the accusations.
Amnesty International has described the situation in Egypt as the worst human rights crisis in the country in decades, with the state systematically using arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances to silence any dissent and create an atmosphere of fear.
The latest wave of arrests, which rights activists say was Egypt’s most intensive for years, came after rare protests against Sisi in Cairo and other cities in late September. According to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, there are some 3,000 people, including lawyers and academics, being held under charges such as using social media to spread false news, joining a banned terrorist group, and protesting without a permit.