Sisi's Egypt an 'open-air prison for critics', says Amnesty

Sisi's Egypt an 'open-air prison for critics', says Amnesty
2 min read
24 January, 2019
Egypt under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has turned into 'an open-air prison' for critics who are facing an unprecedented attack on the freedom of speech, Amnesty said on Thursday.
Sisi has overseen the largest crackdown on dissent seen in Egypt's modern history [AFP]
Egypt under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi has turned into "an open-air prison" for critics who are facing an unprecedented attack on the freedom of speech, Amnesty International said on Thursday in a statement marking the eighth anniversary of the revolution.

At least 113 people were arrested in 2018 over peacefully expressing their views, the UK-based watchdog said, adding that Egypt has become more dangerous than at any time in recent history for anyone openly condemn the government.

"Today it is more dangerous to openly criticise the government in Egypt than at any other time in the country's recent history," said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty International's North Africa campaigns director.

"Those living under President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi have experienced an unprecedented assault that has seen those who peacefully express their views treated as criminals."

The rights group said imprisoned activists detained in 2018 were often held in solitary confinement or subjected to forced disappearances.

"Over the past year, people who dared to criticise the government have been arrested and sent to prison, often held in solitary confinement or subjected to enforced disappearances simply for posting their opinions on social media, giving media interviews, denouncing sexual harassment and even for supporting certain football clubs," Bounaim said.

"In some cases, those arrested had done nothing at all. Under [Sisi's] administration, Egypt has been converted into an open-air prison for critics."

Sisi denies the existence of political prisoners in Egypt, arguing that everyone in detention is facing legal proceedings.

In office since 2014, he has overseen the largest crackdown on dissent seen in the Arab nation's modern history.

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