Updated in: 21 April 2021 - 03:26
TEHRAN (defapress)- French President Emmanuel Macron said human rights in Egypt are perceived as worse now, under his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who in April secured a second term, than under former strongman Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by protests in 2011.
News ID: 75255
Publish Date: 28January 2019 - 16:51

Macron Slams Egypt’s Human Rights Record During Cairo Visit"I think current policies are perceived by intellectuals and Egypt's civil society as tougher than under the Mubarak regime," Macron told reporters on the sidelines of a three-day trip to Egypt, Africa News reported.

"I can't see how you can pretend to ensure long-term stability in this country, which was at the heart of the Arab Spring and showed its taste for freedom, and think you can continue to harden beyond what's acceptable or justified for security reasons," Macron added.

"I think that's becoming paradoxical and harmful for Egypt itself," he stated.

Paris is facing heavy pressure to speak out against allegations of widespread human rights violations in Egypt, including those reportedly using equipment purchased from France.

French military and security equipment was used by Egyptian security forces in “brutal repression”, according to a report by Amnesty International in October.

Macron said he would be more outspoken during the three-day trip, which began on Sunday, and would also mention individual cases in private, adding that "I will at the same time have a confidential dialogue on individual cases and speak out more distinctly, as well as have symbolic exchanges, because I think that's in the interest of President Sisi and Egypt's stability".

The Egyptian government has been cracking down on opposition since the country’s first democratically-elected president, Mohamed Morsi, was ousted in a military coup in July 2013 led by Sisi.

According to Human Rights Watch, Egyptian authorities have arrested or charged at least 60,000 people, forcibly disappeared hundreds for months at a time, given preliminary death sentences to hundreds more, and tried thousands of civilians in military courts since the 2013 coup.

Days ago, Amnesty International stated that Egyptians are facing an unprecedented attack on freedom of expression, as a growing number of activists have been detained in Egypt in recent months.

Egyptian authorities detained at least 113 people in 2018 for peacefully expressing their views, Amnesty International said in a statement, adding that the country has become more dangerous than at any time in recent history for anyone openly criticising the government.

"Today, it is more dangerous to openly criticize the government in Egypt than at any other time in the country's recent history," Najia Bounaim, Amnesty's North Africa Campaigns Director, stated.

"Those living under President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi have experienced an unprecedented assault that has seen those who peacefully express their views treated as criminals," Bounaim added.

Those detained, it said, faced charges that included "membership of terrorist groups" - Egyptian government parlance for the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood group - and "disseminating false news" in "unfair" trials.

The rights group announced that those who dared criticise the government in 2018 were sent to prison, often held in solitary confinement or subjected to forced disappearances.

Sisi denies the existence of political prisoners in Egypt, arguing that everyone in detention is facing legal proceedings.

Human rights groups have regularly criticised el-Sisi's government for cracking down on secular and left-wing activists, as well as supporters of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group.

The country has also passed legislation allowing authorities to monitor popular social media accounts and block them if they are found to publish "fake news".

Rights groups say the legislation is aimed at curbing freedom of expression online, with the internet being one of the last forums for dissenting voices to speak against el-Sisi's rule. Authorities insist that such measures are needed to maintain stability in the country.

The Amnesty statement comes on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the start of the 2011 uprising, which attracted millions of Egyptians to the streets but which later turned into a much-maligned landmark by the pro-government media under el-Sisi.

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