Hundreds of European Union lawmakers demand Egypt’s Sisi launch political prisoners

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Oct 21, 2020

More than 200 European Union parliamentarians have written a letter to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi urging the dictator to launch prisoners of conscience.

Named within the letter are human rights activist Bahey Eldin Hassan, political activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, Fattah’s sister Sanaa Seif and a dozen others presently imprisoned.

“We note that these are but a few of the many prisoners of conscience held in Egyptian prison at risk to their lives,” learn the letter, which was signed by 222 lawmakers from seven international locations, together with Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

The letter particularly highlights the dangers to prisoners in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As European parliamentarians … we take this unfortunate occasion to point out that violations of human rights are neither necessary nor productive for establishing security and stability,” the letter learn.

The message got here two days after 56 members of the US Congress despatched an identical letter urging Sisi to launch political and human rights activists, legal professionals and journalists.

That letter adopted a name Sunday by the UN human rights physique urging Egypt’s authorities to launch scores of individuals reportedly detained for collaborating in peaceable protests.

“All those arrested and detained solely for exercising their rights, or lending legal assistance to others who have been arrested, should be released immediately,” stated Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, in an announcement.

Rights teams accuse Egypt’s safety forces of utilizing pretrial detention as a method to indefinitely detain activists and political prisoners with out trial.

Sisi ascended to the presidency in 2014, lower than a yr after he overthrew democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in a July 2013 coup. Morsi has since died in jail after being convicted in 2015 on terrorism fees and illegal detention of protesters.

Sisi’s authorities has led an unprecedented crackdown on all types of political opposition and criticism, rounding up suspected Islamist and liberal political activists, human rights legal professionals, journalists and even a rival presidential candidate in the course of the 2018 nationwide election, which Sisi received with 97% of the vote, in line with the official depend.

The UN human rights physique and specialists have more and more referred to as on Egypt to launch political prisoners amid the coronavirus pandemic, citing stories of overcrowding within the nation’s prisons.