Aid groups urge Germany's Merkel to press Egypt on rights violations

Published 02.06.2015 22:14

Ahead of Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's visit to Germany on Wednesday, five international human rights organizations released a joint letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to press the Egyptian ruler to end the "pervasive" human rights violations in Egypt.

"German authorities are well aware of the terrible human rights situation in Egypt today," said Wenzel Michalski, Germany director at Human Rights Watch. "Chancellor Merkel should speak out against Egyptian government policies like shutting down peaceful protests and mass arrests solely for alleged sympathy with the Muslim Brotherhood."

In a joint letter released by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Front Line Defenders, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network and the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), the aid organizations condemned "the Egyptian government policies that systematically violate Egypt's obligations under international human rights law as well as the Egyptian constitution of 2014," including the death penalty for 122 people including Egypt's first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi. The letter also indicates that a much higher number of at least 41,000 people have been arrested, indicted or sentenced between July 2013 and May 2014, including 300 lawyers.

Sissi was elected Egypt's president with 96.9 percent of the vote with the support of the most powerful elites in state institutions, business and the media in June 2014. Under Sissi's rule, Egyptian courts have issued more than 742 death sentences since Sisi engineered Morsi's ouster in July 2013 after unfair trials, as reported by Amnesty International.

Meanwhile, a Cairo court has postponed its verdict in Morsi's jailbreak trial to June 16. Morsi, who was ousted after a bloody military coup headed by Sissi, was sentenced to death on May 16 along with more than 100 people for a mass prison break during the incidents in 2011 that ousted former autocratic President Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled Egypt for 30 years. The Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, was declared a terrorist organization that led the country to drift into a state of chaos. Meanwhile, members of the Muslim Brotherhood have been declared a possible target, as most of the Egyptians who were sentenced to death or life in prison are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was founded in the 1920s. The Muslim Brotherhood's supporters have organized demonstrations against persistent military-backed government violence, which has often led to clashes.

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