Watchdog Slams ‘Arbitrary’ Opposition Arrests Ahead Of Egypt Election

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Human Rights Watch on Monday criticised Egypt’s “arbitrary arrests” of opposition figures ahead of the country’s presidential election in March 26.

In a statement, the group said the “intensifying repression and use of terrorism-related charges against peaceful activists”comes as part of a government strategy to silence critical voices before the two-candidate contest.

Incumbent President, Abdul-Fattah al-Sissi is up against a little-known politician, Moussa Moussa, in the vote set to take place between Mar 26 and March 28.

Al-Sissi is virtually certain to win a second presidential term.

He came to power in 2014, a year after he led the overthrow of the country’s first democratically elected but divisive president, Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood,

The U.S.-based group referred to the recent arrest of AbdulMoneim AbulFotouh, a 2012 presidential candidate, over alleged contacts with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.

AbulFotouh was later put on a terrorism list by a court ruling and had his assets frozen by the authorities.

“[AbulFotouh]’s arrest underlines the government message that criticising President [al-Sissi] in the lead-up to the presidential elections is forbidden,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa Director at Human Rights Watch.

“Elections should stimulate political debate and reflect the popular will, but [al-Sissi]’s government wants to ensure with its heavy-handed repression that this is not the case in Egypt,” she added.

The watchdog also pointed to the arrest of AbulFotouh’s aides, including Mohammed al-Qassas, the deputy head of his Strong Egypt Party, and of Hesham Geneina, the former head of the country’s anti-graft agency.

The post Watchdog Slams ‘Arbitrary’ Opposition Arrests Ahead Of Egypt Election appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.


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