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CAAT: UK government must halt arms sales to Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi speaks during a joint news conference with Greek Prime Minister at Maximos Mansion in Athens on November 11, 2020. (Photo by Costas BALTAS / various sources / AFP) (Photo by COSTAS BALTAS/AFP via Getty Images)
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi in Athens on 11 November 2020 [COSTAS BALTAS/AFP/Getty Images]

On the tenth anniversary of the Egyptian uprising, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) has called on the UK government to end arms sales and support for the Egyptian regime.

In the statement, the group said it held the Egyptian military regime responsible for massacring protesters and torturing dissidents, reports the New Arab.

Since the 18-day uprising that toppled long-time dictator Hosni Mubarak, the UK government has licenced £218 million ($297.6 million) worth of arms to Egypt and singled it out as a "core market" for arms sales.

However, human rights abuses are at an all-time high in Egypt where opponents of the regime are forcibly disappeared, systematically tortured and denied medical care.

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Since Defence Minister turned President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi rose to power, the Egyptian army has been fighting a heavy-handed war on terror in the North Sinai Province that has seen children disappeared, houses razed to the ground and thousands forcibly disappeared from their homes.

The army also forcibly and violently breaks up protests most brutally during the Rabaa sit-in when they killed some 1,000 protesters in August 2013 with tanks and snipers.

Following this massacre, the UK suspended arms licences to Egypt but reinstated the majority of them just two months later in what was the subject of immense criticism by human rights groups.

The EU placed an arms embargo on Egypt but it was weak because it was entirely voluntary.

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