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US Congressmen call for investigation into Egyptian misuse of US aid to kill civilians

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - AUGUST 14: Members of the British Egyptian community stage a demonstration outside Houses of Parliament on the eight anniversary of the massacre of civilians during a peaceful protest in Cairo's Rabaa Square in London, United Kingdom on August 14, 2021. At least 1104 protsters were killed and 3994 injured by the Egyptian security forces during a violent dispersal of anti-government sit-ins in Rabaa al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares following a 2013 military coup that deposed democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi. ( Wiktor Szymanowicz - Anadolu Agency )
Members of the British Egyptian community stage a demonstration outside Houses of Parliament on the eight anniversary of the massacre of civilians during a peaceful protest in Cairo's Rabaa Square in London, United Kingdom on August 14, 2021 [Wiktor Szymanowicz - Anadolu Agency]

Congress' Egypt Human Rights Caucus calls for the Biden administration to investigate the Egyptian Air Force's alleged misuse of US-supplied equipment to kill suspected smugglers.

A statement by Congress' Egypt Human Rights Caucus calls on the United States to investigate allegations that the Egyptian Air Force misused US aid, backed by taxpayer money, to kill smugglers by using F-16 aircraft and the US Cessna 208. The Group considered this a violation of US law and undermined the US's efforts to support a government that respects human rights in Egypt.

The statement referred to the recent investigation by the French website, Disclose. The investigation revealed many French military documents showing that the Egyptian Air Force killed suspected smugglers in the Western Desert, describing it as a severe violation of international law and the terms of the contract prohibiting the use of US equipment in human rights abuses.

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The Group said that, although these allegations are shocking, they are consistent with previous reports indicating a systematic shooting-first strategy by the Egyptian army in the Western Desert. The statement referred to an earlier Egyptian airstrike by the US supplied Apache attack helicopters in 2015 that led to the killing of 12 Mexican tourists and the severe injuries of two Americans. The Egyptian government described the horrific incident as a "mistake".

The Group urges President Biden to initiate an investigation by the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, and Director of National Intelligence of potential misuse of US-supplied military aircraft in Egypt, demanding immediate freezing of all military aid from the United States to the Egyptian regime.

A few days ago, Human Rights Watch demanded the French authorities stop selling weapons to the Egyptian government and initiate an immediate investigation about the leaked documents.

The Disclose investigation revealed that the mega weapons company "Dassault" sold a collective surveillance system to the Sisi regime. Additionally, three French companies provided the Egyptian government with massive surveillance software to target and monitor Egypt's activists, journalists and opponents.

Representatives, Tom Malinowski and Adam Schiff led a signature campaign by eight of their colleagues for a letter calling on the House Appropriations Committee to make several significant changes to foreign military funding allocated to the Egyptian government at the end of April.

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The Representatives stated in their letter that, unfortunately, Egyptians today find themselves living under a more repressive government led by the military. There are more than 60,000 Egyptians held as political prisoners, representing a higher rate of unjust detention than other countries in the region.

In addition, thousands of people face ongoing torture, arbitrary justice and digital surveillance at the hands of Egyptian security forces.

Congressmen state that this letter should spur a broad debate about the American taxpayers' value from gifting $1.3 billion in weaponry to the Egyptian military regime. "We will continue for directing America's limited foreign assistance resources to governments whose values and actions align with our national interests," the Group declares.

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AfricaAsia & AmericasEgyptNewsUS
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