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UK PM ‘must raise’ rights issues with Egypt’s president: Amnesty

Since Sisi took into power, journalists, human rights activists, and members of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement have been imprisoned or sentenced to death

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UK Prime Minister David Cameron must bring up human rights concerns with Egyptian President Abdelfattah al-Sisi during the latter’s visit to the UK this week, London-based group Amnesty International said in a press release on Tuesday.

Since former President Mohammad Mursi was ousted in 2013, scores of journalists, human rights activists, and members of Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement have been imprisoned or sentenced to death, some in mass trials.

Sisi’s visit to the UK, which is to discuss regional security issues and the unresolved crisis in Libya, provides a key opportunity for Cameron to highlight the plight of two young detainees, according to the press release.

One of the detainees, 19-year-old Mahmoud Mohamed Ahmed Hussein, was arrested for allegedly wearing a t-shirt that read “Nation without Torture” during a protest, according to Amnesty.

Another detainee, 23-year-old Israa al-Taweel, was arrested for accusations of “belonging to a banned group” and “broadcasting false news,” the rights group added.

Sisi’s visit comes shortly after the UK premier hosted Chinese President Xi Jinping in late October.

During the visit by China’s powerful head of state, Cameron was urged to bring up similar rights issues. An editorial in London-based daily The Observer said that Cameron had “remained silent publicly on human rights” and that the UK’s “fawning” over China was “shameful and utterly cynical.”

“During the Chinese president’s visit the world got the distinct impression that the UK was sidelining human rights to secure Chinese money for things like power stations,” Amnesty official Kate Allen was quoted as saying in the release.

“Are we going to see a more principled approach from Mr. Cameron when it comes to Mr. al-Sisi’s visit?” she added.