Source: Human Rights Watch
Author(s): Human Rights Watch
Original Link: https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2019/country-chapters/egypt
Since President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi secured a second term in a largely unfree and unfair presidential election in March, his security forces have escalated a campaign of intimidation, violence, and arrests against political opponents, civil society activists, and many others who have simply voiced mild criticism of the government. The Egyptian government and state media have framed this repression under the guise of combating terrorism, and al-Sisi has increasingly invoked terrorism and the country’s state of emergency law to silence peaceful activists.
The government continued to silence critics through arrests and unfair prosecutions of journalists and bloggers, and the parliament issued severely restrictive laws that further curtail freedom of speech and access to information. The intensified crackdown also includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) activists, artists, and alleged or self-described atheists. Authorities have placed hundreds of people and entities on the country’s terrorism list and seized their assets for alleged terrorism links without any hearing or proper due process.
In addition to using the exceptional State Security Courts, for which court decisions cannot be appealed, authorities continue to prosecute thousands of civilians before military courts. Both court systems are inherently abusive and do not meet minimum due process standards.
In North Sinai, where government forces have been fighting an ISIS-affiliated group called Sinai Province (Wilayat Sinai), the army committed flagrant abuses of residents’ rights that amount in certain cases to collective punishment. Beginning in January, the army launched the most intensive wave of home demolitions in Sinai in years.
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