Cairo rejects international criticism, denounces “interference”

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry rejects “any attempt to influence the investigations carried out by the prosecution against Egyptian citizens who are the subject of prosecution,” spokesman Ahmed Hafez said in a statement.

“National sovereignty must be respected” without “interference in internal affairs”, he added.

Several European countries, the United States and the United Nations have condemned the arrest this week of three executives of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) after a visit in November to its office in Cairo “of a number of ‘ambassadors and diplomats’, according to the NGO.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry told him on Saturday reacting to “false conclusions drawn in the media and on social networks”.

Accused in particular of “belonging to a terrorist group” and “spreading false information”, Mohamed Bachir, Karim Ennarah and Gasser Abdel Razek were placed in pre-trial detention for 15 days, renewable up to two years under Egyptian law.

Several foreign officials, diplomats, and human rights NGOs such as Amnesty International have denounced these arrests.

According to NGOs, some 60,000 detainees in Egypt are political prisoners.

Since the removal by the army in Egypt in 2013 of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi and the coming to power the following year of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a growing repression has descended on all forms of opposition, Islamist or liberal.

Already in February, a first member of the EIPR, researcher Patrick Zaki was arrested for “terrorism”. He has remained in detention ever since. (AFP)

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