Leading Egyptian members of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's entourage 'could be arrested in UK'

Published 03.11.2015 17:59
Updated 03.11.2015 18:10

Leading members of Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's entourage could be liable for arrest, as a result of committing human rights violations, during the Egyptian president's visit to London, a leading international lawyer has said.

Rodney Dixon QC said that the human rights violations seen in Egypt over the last two years meant that Sisi should not be welcome in the U.K., much as Syrian president Bashar al-Assad would not be.

Speaking at a press conference in London on Tuesday held by the Egyptian Revolutionary Council in protest of the upcoming visit, he said that while Sisi enjoyed diplomatic immunity, some of his colleagues did not.

Dixon said: "There are many people in the entourage and others who've come who don't benefit from immunity, including military persons, security persons. It's only a very small group that under international law may benefit from immunity.

"So all of those persons and all of that conduct is part of the police investigation. If there is evidence we are urging the police to act to arrest.

Among Dixon's clients is the deposed Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by Sisi in a coup.

The British government has defended Sisi's visit, which is due to begin on Wednesday, as an opportunity to engage with an important partner in the Middle East.

Conservative political commentator Peter Oborne said that he wasn't expecting to share a platform with left-wing anti-war activists.

"But this is not a matter of right and left. This is a matter of right and wrong. And it is entirely wrong that President Sisi should come here to Britain [and for] the Prime Minister, a man who talks about British values, should invite a bloodstained dictator with mass murder on his record," Oborne said.

The Egyptian Revolutionary Council was established in Istanbul last year in opposition to Sisi's regime.

Maha Azam, chair of the council, said that the visit made the U.K. an "active participant" in the Egyptian regime.

"And that is really a call to all British citizens to ask themselves the question whether they want to be active participants in supporting such a brutal regime," Azam said.

Egypt has been roiled by violence and turmoil since the military coup led by the current President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi. The former President Mohamed Morsi, the country's first freely elected civilian president has been imprisoned since mid-2013 after he had served only one year in office.

In the more than two years since, security forces have killed hundreds and detained tens of thousands of Brotherhood members and Morsi supporters.

Since Morsi's ouster, Egyptian courts have sentenced more than 1,700 people-including Morsi himself-to death, although only seven of these have been carried out to date.

The remaining death sentences face appeal by the defendants, have been overturned by the courts, or are still awaiting the approval of Egypt's grand mufti, the country's top religious authority.

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