The European parliament has called for a ‘profound and comprehensive’ review of the EU’s relationship with Egypt in light of the ‘deteriorating’ situation of human rights in the country. The adopted resolution also called for the consideration of ‘restrictive measures’ against senior Egyptian officials responsible for human rights violations.
The joint statement also calls on the Egyptian authorities of ‘hindering’ the investigation into the case of murdered Italian student Giulio Regeni. It also called for more transparency on ‘all forms’ of financial support provided by the EU to Egypt. The resolution was strongly condemned by Egypt’s Parliament, which quickly responded with a statement of its own. It called the Eu Parliament statement ‘politicised and unbalanced’
“The human rights situation in Egypt has continued to deteriorate as authorities intensify their crackdown on civil society, human rights defenders, health workers, journalists, opposition members, academics, and lawyers,” the parliament said in the document.
It also called on the EU member states not to “give awards to leaders responsible for human rights violations” referencing the controversial three-day visit to Paris last week, where Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who came to power in 2013 through a coup, was awarded the prestigious Legion of Honor by French President Emmanuel Macron.
The European Parliament repeated the previous calls for the release of three senior staff members of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) and Egyptian human rights defenders who were incarcerated after meeting diplomats.
The European Parliament expressed “deep concern” for the detainees and prisoners held in “overcrowded places of detention, in abysmal conditions”, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
The EU document has called for the release of a fourth EIPR staff member, Patrick Zaki, who is still in jail after being arrested in February on charges of disseminating subversive propaganda, among other accusations.
According to his lawyer, Zaki was interrogated for 17 hours by Egypt’s security forces before being beaten and tortured using electric shocks.