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Egypt rights groups denounce Biden's decision to grant Sisi military aid

US President Joe Biden on May 17, 2021 in Washington, DC [Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images]
US President Joe Biden on May 17, 2021 in Washington, DC [Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images]

Egyptian human rights groups have denounced the administration of US President Joe Biden's decision to grant Egypt $170 million in military aid to the regime of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, accusing the administration of giving license to his government to continue perpetrating rights violations without fear of consequences.

Yesterday, Politico revealed that the Biden administration decided to withhold part of the aid over human rights concerns.

However, in a statement published today, 14 human rights groups described the decision as a "terrible blow to the Biden administration's stated commitment to human rights and to the rule of law".

The groups claimed that the decision proved that Biden's dedication to human rights was not sincere, adding: "By immediately releasing $170 million and temporarily withholding the remaining $130 million, the administration sidesteps the intent of Congress, which passed legislation clearly stating that $300 million in US military aid should be withheld until Egypt has taken steps to strengthen the rule of law, implement reforms that protect basic freedoms, and hold Egyptian security forces accountable."

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The statement was signed by the Committee for Justice (CFJ), Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), Egyptian Front for Human Rights, Egyptian Human Rights Forum, EuroMed Rights, the Freedom Initiative, Human Rights First, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), MENA Rights Group, PEN America, Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) and the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy (TIMEP).

The groups called on the US Congress to pressure Biden not to repeat such a decision in the future and to state that the decision violates congressional intent, threatens the human rights of Egyptians, and further weakens the US' position on rights issues.

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