It seems that the human rights situation in Egypt has returned to the forefront of the scene, after that American and European lawmakers sent two letters to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, asking him to release detainees who said they were being unfairly imprisoned.
International human rights organizations said in a statement yesterday, Wednesday, that 84 members of the European Parliament and 138 members of national parliaments from all over Europe, as well as 56 American lawmakers wrote to Sisi to urge him to stop what human rights organizations described as “unfair prison sentences” against human rights defenders. Human rights workers, journalists, lawyers, and activists in Egypt detained solely for exercising their legitimate rights.
The American newspaper “Washington Post” reported that 55 Democratic lawmakers in addition to independent Senator Bernie Sanders included a letter they sent to Sisi, last Monday, with details of detainees who said they were in prison for reasons they described as “unfair”, warning that Democrats will not tolerate human rights violations. Human if their candidate Joe Biden wins the presidency.
The deputies’ message included the names of detainees, including journalists, politicians and jurists, and their affiliations varied, as it included liberals, leftists and Islamists, including the liberal political science professor Hazem Hosni, the leftist activist Haytham Muhammadin, the Islamic jurist Muhammad al-Baqir, in addition to the journalist colleague on the island, Mahmoud Hussein.
More than 220 parliamentarians from across Europe today called on President El-Sisi to release prisoners of conscience in #Egypt. It is time to release them and end the vicious crackdown on human rights. Https://t.co/pKtoPJv1Wr
– Amnesty International (@AmnestyAR) October 21, 2020
The message addressed to Sisi a few days before the US presidential elections carried a clear threat that the Democrats would not tolerate human rights violations in the event that Joe Biden won the presidency, which was seen by observers as a kind of political rivalry between the presidential candidates, while others considered it an indication of a real change in the event. Incumbent President Donald Trump has lost.
But the Democratic member of Parliament, “Ro Khanna,” confirmed that the message was motivated by the campaign launched by the Egyptian security forces against activists and dissidents, and the arrest of more than 900 people, following the recent anti-Sisi protests.
Biden issued a similar warning on July 12, saying that if he were elected president, there would be no “blank checks for Trump’s favorite dictator (meaning Sisi)”, and he launched a scathing attack on Trump’s relationship with Sisi, stressing that the Egyptian regime’s suppression of rights Man will not be ignored by his administration if he wins.
Rights activists agreed that these two messages will not leave a direct and immediate impact on the human rights reality in Egypt, as they come under the clear support of the Trump administration for Sisi and his policies, and the European governments overlook what international and local human rights organizations have monitored for clear human rights violations by the Egyptian regime.
While others are optimistic that the message of America’s Democratic legislators is an indication of the possibility of an influential change in the American policy towards the Egyptian regime if Biden wins, others ruled that out, pointing to the latter’s disregard for taking a stance towards Sisi’s military coup, and the accompanying wide violations, A time when Biden was Vice President Barack Obama.
In this context, the journalist and human rights activist Haitham Abu Khalil believes that these messages do not have any echo in the human rights situation in Egypt, pointing out that throughout the past stage, no similar voices have affected, and arrest and execution of death sentences and other violations continued, with unlimited support. From the American administration to Sisi, to please Israel.
Abu Khalil believes in his speech to Al-Jazeera Net that under the control of the Republicans, he does not expect any change, but in the event that Biden wins and the Democrats rise, a slight change may occur, not reaching a radical change as some imagine.
The Egyptian human rights defender considered that the democratization of lawmakers ’demands to release a limited number, even if their affiliations varied, is an“ not good trend, ”as there are about 60,000 detainees, including the leaders of the Islamic movement, who have been in Egyptian prisons for 7 years.
Abu Khalil stressed that he does not expect a real breakthrough in the human rights and other rights conditions in Egypt, as long as Sisi is in power, stressing that Egypt is living through the worst era of human rights ever.
56 Democratic members of Congress (sheikhs and representatives from the relevant committees) send a strongly worded letter to Sisi on the issues of political detainees in Egypt calling for his release.# Freedom for the detainees https://t.co/u8w4YcakrR
– Mohamed Soltan | محمد سلطان (@soltan) October 18, 2020
The criticism is widening
And Salma Ashraf, director of HUMAN RIGHTS MONITOR, can see. The statement of human rights organizations in support of the messages of European and American lawmakers reflects the expansion of the circle of criticism of the human rights situation in Egypt, and may pave the way for a change in the West’s view of this situation, after it came to see the extent of the violations that affected everyone, which could influence the interests of the Egyptian regime seeking.
The human rights activist said that these messages achieve the goal of exposing the ongoing violations of the Sisi regime, which claims to protect freedoms, and is a means of pressure on him. Hostess “but On the other hand The US financial and military support for Sisi limits these gains.
Salma finds the diversity of the detainees’ affiliations included in the US lawmakers ’letter, evidence of the authors’ belief in the innocence of all those she mentioned, as well as other detainees, with whom they share those affiliations, and reflects their conviction that Sisi does not differentiate between one faction and another.
In light of what the Egyptian human rights defender sees as the current president of America adopts violence and terrorism and supports dictatorships in the world, she expects that the policy of those who follow him will differ, but the reflection of this on the Egyptian reality is not guaranteed, according to her opinion.
A right intended to be void
On the other hand, opposition political activist Amr Abdel-Hadi believes that these messages come within the framework of “the right that is sought is invalid,” indicating that Egyptian prisons contain tens of thousands of unidentified oppressed people, and an attempt to tickle feelings by diversifying the affiliations of those mentioned in the message, “an attempt to circumvent rights “.
In his interview with Al-Jazeera Net, Abdel-Hadi considered that the messages are limited to a very small number of detainees, confirming to those who expect a change in US policy if Biden succeeds that he is delusional, pointing out that the Democratic Party’s speech may be quieter than the Republican Party, but he will continue the usual policy towards Egypt. .
In this context, he indicated that all successive administrations against America will not neglect any interests achieved by the Israeli occupation, but there is nothing wrong with some measures from time to time to absorb the anger of the Arab peoples so that no signs of explosion occur in the horizon.