Egypt minister condemns Amnesty report, despite not reading it

Egypt minister condemns Amnesty report, despite not reading it
2 min read
26 May, 2016
Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has attacked Amnesty International's report on human rights abuses in the country, even though he hasn't read the document.
Sameh Shoukry has hit back at Amnesty International for its "exaggerated" reports [AFP]
Egypt's foreign minister has attacked an Amnesty international report documenting human rights abuses in the country as "exaggerated", despite having not read the account himself.

Sameh Shoukry dismissed claims by the human rights group that European Union member states are fuelling killings and torture in Egypt by selling arms to Cairo.

In his response the foreign minister admitted that he hadn't read the report.

"I have not seen the Amnesty International report that attributes responsibility to the EU [member countries] for what happens in Egypt due its supplying us with weapons," Shoukry said in a joint press conference with his Canadian counterpart Stephane Dion.

"But [I] emphasise that this organisation used to launch statements and reports that are exaggerated towards Egypt."

In his statement, the minister said that European exports to Egypt were vital for the security of the country. 

"These weapons you [Amnesty International] are talking about contributed significantly to the achievement of security in Egypt and the defence of the martyrs of the armed forces and the police," the minister added.

European arms sales have continued to Egypt despite an EU-wide suspension of arms transfers to the country after hundreds of protesters were shot dead by security forces in August 2013.

Despite the ban, Amnesty International pointed out that 12 out of 28 EU states are providing arms and equipment to Egypt's military and police forces, which have used to violently crush dissent in the country.
Victims of the Rabaa massacre
Victims of the August 2013 Rabaa massacre in which
up to 1,000 protesters were killed in one day [Getty]

"In 2014 alone, EU states authorised 290 licences for military equipment to Egypt, totalling more than €6 billion ($6.77 billion)," the report said.

EU member states shipped out small arms, light weapons and ammunition, armoured vehicles, military helicopters, heavier weapons and surveillance technology to President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's regime.

Amnesty's head of arms control and human rights also called for the EU to impose an immediate arms embargo "on all transfers of the types of arms and equipment being used by Egypt to commit serious human rights violations".

On Wednesday, Human Rights Watch attacked Cairo's suppression of political opposition, saying "Egyptian authorities are using national security threats to crush dissent among Egypt's youth".