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HRW Wants Egypt to Condemn Minister's 'Hate Speech'

  • VOA News

FILE - Human Rights Watch MENA director, Sarah Leah Whitson (r) speaks during a press conference in Sanaa, Yemen, Jan. 27, 2014.

FILE - Human Rights Watch MENA director, Sarah Leah Whitson (r) speaks during a press conference in Sanaa, Yemen, Jan. 27, 2014.

A human rights group wants Egypt's president to condemn comments by his justice minister that appeared to advocate the mass killing of Muslim Brotherhood supporters.

In a letter Monday to President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Human Rights Watch said the president should make clear that his government does not endorse Justice Minister Ahmed al-Zind's remarks that he would not be satisfied until 10,000 Brotherhood members were killed for every slain member of the armed forces.

Al-Zind made the remarks on January 28 on satellite channel Sada al-Balad.The rights group said the interview was "widely shared" on social media.

HRW said "President el-Sissi should clarify that his government will ensure the prosecution of anyone who commits, orders, or assists in murder or other crimes against Brotherhood supporters or any other group because of their political or ideological affiliation."

The rights group said the government "should forcefully dissuade others from engaging in hate speech."

FILE - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi waves during the opening ceremony of the new Suez Canal, in Ismailia, Aug. 6, 2015. The former military leader is consolidating his control of the country, experts say.

FILE - Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi waves during the opening ceremony of the new Suez Canal, in Ismailia, Aug. 6, 2015. The former military leader is consolidating his control of the country, experts say.

Sarah Leah Whitson, HRW's Middle East and North African director, said "That a high government official charged with overseeing the rule of law would go on TV and appear to encourage the slaughter of political opponents shows how some members of the Egyptian government have abandoned any pretense of justice."

HRW said no Egyptian official has "clarified or contradicted" al-Zind's comments.

In 2013, then-army chief el-Sissi overthrew Egypt's first freely-elected president, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi, and promised a "roadmap to democracy."

He then launched a fierce crackdown on dissent, jailing thousands of Morsi supporters as well as activists at the forefront of the 2011 revolt that ended Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule.

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