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Amnesty Calls Egypt an 'Open-air Prison' for Critics

FILE - In this Feb. 7, 2018 photo, Hesham Genena, Egypt's former top auditor who suffered serious injuries during an apparent kidnapping attempt, talks during an interview with the Associated Press at his home in Cairo.

Amnesty International says Egypt’s crackdown on freedom of expression has reached “alarming” levels, calling for the unconditional release of Egyptians jailed for peacefully expressing their views.

The rights group launched a campaign called “Egypt, an Open-Air Prison for Critics” on Tuesday. It said in a statement it wants supporters around the world to show their solidarity with Egyptians detained for expressing their views by writing to the Cairo government to put an “end to the persecution.”

Egypt has launched the largest crackdown on critics in its modern history in the five years since the military ouster of the country's first freely elected civilian president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. The government has arrested thousands of his supporters along with iconic secular activists, placed the media under tight control and suppressed freedoms.

The government says security and improving the economy are top priorities.