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Biden should withhold aid to Egypt, says US Senator Chris Murphy

September 13, 2022 at 12:27 pm

US President Joe Biden, left, meets with Senator Chris Murphy at the White House in Washington, D.C., US, on Tuesday, June 7, 2022 [photo by Ken Cedeno/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

US Senator Chris Murphy has explained to the Senate why the Biden administration should withhold aid to the Egyptian government over significant human rights abuses.

Every year the US hands over $1.3 billion in military aid to Egypt though $300 million is conditioned on Egypt adhering to certain human rights conditions.

According to a waiver, the $300 million can be waived on national security grounds and almost every year it has been waived.

Murphy, an outspoken critic of Egypt’s treatment of political prisoners, is urging the American government to withhold the full $300 million.

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Last year Murphy said he was “disappointed” when the Biden administration sent a portion of security assistance to Egypt despite the congressionally-mandated human rights conditions attached to the money.

“I made the case then that we had an opportunity to stand up strongly for democracy by holding back military aid – making it clear to present and future dictators that if you violate human rights,

you will no longer receive a blank cheque from the United States of America,” the senator said in a statement in January this year.

Rights groups have, for months, been calling on US officials to withhold the portion conditioned on releasing political prisoners and allowing them due process.

In August 20 human rights organisations signed a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Jake Sullivan to say that the Egyptian government has failed “to meet the congressionally mandated human rights conditions.”

“Providing this additional military aid to Egypt in these circumstances would contradict the frequent pledges from the Biden administration to put human rights at the centre of US foreign policy,

including specifically its relationship with Egypt,” the letter went on to say.

There are roughly 60,000 political prisoners in Egypt who are regularly denied medical care and tortured systematically, sometimes to the point of death.

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