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West's turning a blind eye to abuses in Egypt is costing lives, opposition says

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]

Egypt has been witnessing the "unprecedented brutality of the current regime" in the nine years since the Rabaa massacre, the head of the Egyptian Revolutionary Council warned in a letter sent to lawmakers in the UK ahead of the anniversary of what has been described as "one of the bloodiest events in Egypt's recent history".

Dr Maha Azzam said: "The last nine years have been testimony to the growing and unprecedented brutality of the current regime against any form of dissent, even a tweet. The victims are from different political orientations and some are mistakenly picked up and suffer the consequences of being disappeared, held for years without trial and tortured."

Furthermore, she added, "under Abdel Fatah el Sisi Egypt has reached the third highest rank of any country world-wide for political executions. Egyptians are denied freedom of assembly and freedom of expression."

The letter comes as Egyptians remember the bloody events of 14 August 2013 when security forces crushed the peaceful sit-in of thousands of civilians protesting against the military coup that overthrew Egypt's first democratically elected civilian president and derailed its nascent democracy,  shooting and burning hundreds.

Nearly 1,000 people were killed in what Human Rights Watch said were systematic raids, ordered by top officials and which probably amounted to crimes against humanity.

READ: The Rabaa Massacre

There are now roughly 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt who live in squalid conditions including lack of access to sunlight and little food. Political prisoners are systematically tortured and denied medical care and the rate of death penalties being issued has soared.

"The regime tries to cover up the systematic violations of human rights by winning the West's silence through lucrative arms deals," Azzam said in her letter. "Egypt is among the ten top importers of arms in the world despite the deep crisis in the Egyptian economy. These arms purchases leave Egyptians who are in dire need of the most basic health care and education in debt for generations to come."

She called on policymakers and members of parliament to "reassess their policies towards the regime in Egypt."

"The West's support and that of the United Kingdom for the Egyptian regime and their turning a blind eye to the abuses costs lives and adds to the suffering of the Egyptian people."

"We ask you to stand by the struggle for freedom and rights of the Egyptian people and ensure that the United Kingdom review its policy towards the regime of Abdel Fattah el Sisi," she concluded.

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AfricaEgyptEurope & RussiaHRWInternational OrganisationsNewsUK
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