News ID: 260401
Published: 0450 GMT October 18, 2019

UN slams Egypt for arresting prominent dissidents

UN slams Egypt for arresting prominent dissidents

The United Nations (UN)’s human rights office has censured Egypt for detaining prominent dissidents following unprecedented protests against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, calling for their release after they were allegedly subjected to torture by security forces.

Egypt was rocked by anti-regime demonstrations on September 20, following calls for protests that were made after allegations of corruption were leveled against Sisi.

Nearly 3,400 people were arrested after the protests erupted, according to the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, an independent body. About 300 of them have since been freed, though, Presstv Reported.

“Unfortunately, such arrests are continuing, and have included a number of well-known and respected civil society figures,” UN human rights spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said at a news briefing in Geneva on Friday.

Shamdasani said that Esraa Abdel Fattah and Alaa Abdel Fattah, who are not related and who played key roles in the 2011 uprising hat ended president Hosni Mubarak’s 30 year rule, have been detained in the recent weeks.

According to the spokeswoman, journalist and activist Esraa Abdel Fattah was arrested by plainclothes security officers in Cairo on Saturday.

Esraa was reportedly physically assaulted after she declined to unlock her mobile phone, and is currently on a hunger strike, Shamdasani added.

The blogger and software engineer Alaa Abdel Fattah was arrested on September 29, about six months after he had been released from prison after serving a five-year sentence on charges of protesting in defiance on an anti-protest law, Shamdasani said.

She added that his lawyer, Mohamed al-Baqer, was also arrested on the same day while attending the interrogation. According to the spokeswoman, the pair was subjected to physical abuse.

‘Dialog of deaf persons’

On Tuesday, the European Union (EU)’s ambassador to Egypt, Ivan Surkos, said that he had raised concerns over the arrests with the country’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Human Rights Ahmed Gamal Eddin.

“Will my messages end as (a) dialogue of deaf persons? Let’s hope not,” Surkos tweeted.

Sisi has been facing international condemnation for a crackdown on civil society groups since he took power in 2014, a year after a military coup spearheaded by him toppled the country’s first ever democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi.



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