News / Middle East

Amnesty Report Slams Egypt's 'Human Rights Abuses,' Violence

Demonstrators from various anti-military groups shout slogans during a protest against government military rules and against Egypt's Army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, at Talaat Harab Square in downtown Cairo, Jan. 22, 2014.
Demonstrators from various anti-military groups shout slogans during a protest against government military rules and against Egypt's Army Chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, at Talaat Harab Square in downtown Cairo, Jan. 22, 2014.
Edward Yeranian
Amnesty International has issued a report criticizing what it calls human rights abuses, wide-scale repression and limits to freedom of expression and of assembly in Egypt. Some analysts, however, question the neutrality of the report,

The report by Amnesty International on human rights violations in Egypt uses strong language to condemn what its authors portray as repression of civil rights, including freedom of expression and assembly.

Diana Eltahawy, a spokeswoman for Amnesty International, said Egypt's security forces have arrested many activists since the ouster of former Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July.

“[Arrests have] been in the thousands and they include members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, but they also include secular activists," said  Eltahawy. "Some of the cases that Amnesty International has documented are cases of women and children who have been thrown in jail, simply for holding placards with slogans against the military. We also know that an estimated 1,400 people have died in political violence, many as a result of lethal and excessive use of force by the army and the police since the third of July.”

Arab analyst and commentator Adel Darwish said the Amnesty report, which is titled “Roadmap to Repression: No End in Sight to Human Rights Violations,” fails to use unbiased language.

“If you want to present a case from a legal point of view,” he said, “the language must be neutral, which is not the case.” Darwish also disputed the validity of casualty and arrest figures cited by Amnesty.

Interim President Adly Mansour, who heads Egypt's Supreme Constitutional Court, told security forces Thursday, in honor of National Police Day, that there now exists, since the January 2011 Revolution, a new relationship between police and the people:

He insisted that a “police state” will never come back and that the rule of law will prevail. He noted that the police have a role in promoting security, justice, freedom and the rights of the people, which includes stability in the country and fighting “blind terrorism.”

Militants have killed scores of police and army officers since the overthrow of Morsi and Islamic militants battle them for control of portions of the northern Sinai. Five policemen were killed by armed men wearing masks Thursday in the town of Beni Suef, south of Cairo.

Said Sadek, who teaches political sociology at the American University in Cairo said Amnesty International is looking at only one side of the picture in Egypt.

"They also do not understand the nature of the current historical moment," said Sadek. "Any country that goes through a transition is on the verge of a civil war. Remember Yugoslavia, look at Syria, look at what happened to Libya. So, it's not an easy situation. Now, the Egyptian government is fully mobilized to protect the state. It's borders are wide open. Infiltrators and smugglers come with arms and terrorists from Libya, from Gaza. You have bombs exploding here and there.”

Amnesty's Eltahawy argued that when “any protest at a university or otherwise turns violent, the security forces have to follow a number of rules and procedures,” which include “using force in a way that is proportionate, to achieve a legitimate objective.”

Sadek pointed out, though, that the U.S. passed the Patriot Act after 9/11 to protect national security. Egyptians, he said, “don't want their whole country to be destroyed like Syria, Iraq or Libya.”

You May Like

African States Push to Keep Boko Haram Offline

Central African telecoms ministers working with Nigeria to block all videos posted by Boko Haram in effort to blunt Nigerian militant group's propaganda More

Falling Oil Prices, Internet-Savvy Youth Pose Challenge for Gulf Monarchies

Across the Gulf, younger generations are putting a strain on traditional politics More

Philippines Call Center Workers Face Challenges

Country has world’s largest business process outsourcing, or BPO, industry, employing some one-million workers More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More