Two years after Morsi, Egypt in 'repression': Amnesty

Two years after Morsi, Egypt in 'repression': Amnesty
Egyptian Interior Minister Magdy Abdel Ghaffar (C) investigates the site of a car bomb attack on the convoy of Egyptian public prosecutor Hisham Barakat near his house at Heliopolis district in Cairo, on June 29, 2015.
PHOTO: Reuters

CAIRO - Two years after the army ousted president Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has regressed into "all-out repression", with activists jailed in a bid to crush dissent, Amnesty International warned on Tuesday.

The London-based rights watchdog said that Egyptian authorities led by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are engaged in a blatant attempt to "nip in the bid any future threat to their rule".

"Mass protests have been replaced by mass arrests," Amnesty said in a statement ahead of the second anniversary on Friday of the July 3, 2013 ouster of the Islamist Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected leader.

"Today... youth activists are languishing behind bars, providing every indication that Egypt has regressed into a state of all-out repression," the statement quoted Amnesty's Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui as saying.

It said a government crackdown has resulted in more than 41,000 people arrested, charged or indicted with a criminal offence, or sentenced after unfair trials.

"The Egyptian authorities have shown that they will stop at nothing in their attempts to crush all challenges to their authority," Hadj Sahraoui said.

Amnesty said a new wave of arrests in mid-2015 saw at least 160 people detained in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance.

Hadj Sahraoui said the crackdown that initially began with the arrests of Morsi and his supporters has rapidly expanded to encompass Egypt's entire political spectrum.

Criticising Sisi's Western and European allies for their ties with his regime, Amnesty said there is "no indication that stopping gross human rights violations in Egypt was on the agenda during" meetings with these allies.

"The gross hypocrisy of Egypt's partners has been laid bare in a race for lucrative business deals, political influence and intelligence, as well as new sales and transfers of policing equipment that could facilitate human rights violations," Hadj Sahraoui said.

"Egypt is jailing peaceful activists while the international community looks the other away. There's silence from states, silence from world leaders and silence in the UN Human Rights Council."

Amnesty also called Monday's killing of state prosecutor Hisham Barakat in a Cairo bombing as "a despicable, cowardly and cold-blooded act of murder".

It urged the authorities "not to respond to the killing with further repression targeting peaceful protesters and activists".

Morsi was ousted by then army chief Sisi three days after mass street protests on June 30, 2013 against his sole year of divisive rule.

The new authorities then launched a sweeping police crackdown on Morsi's supporters in which more than 1,400 people were killed.

The crackdown later widened to target secular and liberal activists who had spearheaded the 2011 uprising against long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak, Morsi's predecessor.

Sisi's regime is widely popular among Egyptians tired of more than four years of political turmoil, although rights groups say it is more repressive than under Mubarak.

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