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Amnesty International calls Egypt an 'open-air prison' for critics

Over 60,000 political prisoners languish in Egyptian jails. [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 September, 2018

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In the five years since the Egyptian military overthrew a democratically-elected government, Sisi's regime has launched the largest crackdown on critics in its modern history

Amnesty International says Egypt's crackdown on freedom of expression has reached "alarming" levels, and called 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 first democratically-elected leader of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, in 2013.

The regime - led by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi - has arrested thousands of Muslim Brotherhood supporters, along with iconic secular activists, placed media under tight control and suppressed the freedoms of ordinary Egyptians.

The government has said improving the security situation and economy are its top priorities.

Human rights groups estimate that as many as 60,000 political prisoners languish in Egyptian jails, significantly more than under Hosni Mubarak's dictatorship.

In 2013, Egyptian security forces killed over 1,000 demonstrators who attended sit-in protests at Cairo's Rabaa Square against the 3 July military coup of Mohamed Morsi.

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