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Biden presidency 'to take tougher stance' on rights abuser Sisi: report

There are some 60,000 political detainees in Egypt according to estimates. [Getty]

Date of publication: 19 October, 2020

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In a recent letter reviewed by The Washington Post, US lawmakers signal Sisi's rights violation 'will not be tolerated' if Biden wins the presidency.
US lawmakers are calling on Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to release political prisoners and jailed activists, The Washington Post reported on Monday.

In a letter reviewed by the post, congressional Democrats warned of a tougher American stance against rights abuses if Joe Biden wins the presidential elections.

Signed by 55 Democrats and Senator Bernie Sanders, the letter – which reportedly details unjust imprisonment and the spread of Covid-19 in Egypt – is due to be sent out on Monday.

The 56 lawmakers also urge Sisi to release those"unjustly detained for exercising their fundamental human rights", according to the report.

"These are people who should never have been imprisoned in the first place," the lawmakers say.

Egypt's authoritarian regime has jailed thousands of political opponents, human rights activists and pro-democracy lawyers, often on flimsy or trumped-up charges. That has triggered widespread condemnation, but the jailings have continued.

If the administration changes, the US relationship with Egypt will be "reexamined from a human rights lens, that human rights again will be prioritised", Rep. Ro Khanna was quoted by The Washington Post as saying.

Read also: Egypt releases satirist Shady Abu Zeid after two years in jail: family

International rights groups have repeatedly sounded the alarm on Egypt, saying Sisi's government has been curtailing freedoms since he took office in 2014.

Social media influencers, comedians, bloggers, journalists, activists and academics have been jailed, while many continue to be held in pre-trial detention. 

There are some 60,000 political detainees in Egypt according to estimates.

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