Egypt's foreign ministry released a statement on Wednesday saying that it rejects recent criticisms by the EU over what the European body described as the arrest of political activists in the country.
The foreign ministry affirmed that Egyptian authorities do not target critics or human rights activists, and described the EU’s comments as a misreading of the situation in Egypt.
Earlier on Wednesday, the EU spokeswoman for foreign affairs and security policy voiced concerns over what she described as "the increasing number of arrests of human rights defenders, political activists and bloggers in the latest weeks in Egypt," adding that these events are "a worrying development."
Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Cairo completely rejects the spokeswoman's statements, which he described as "inaccurate," adding that the comments "do not serve the channels of dialogue and partnership between Egypt and the European Union."
"No citizen in Egypt gets arrested or tried because of their activity in the field of human rights, or for criticising the Egyptian government, but [they get arrested] for committing crimes punishable by law," the statement read.
Over the past few weeks, Egyptian authorities have arrested and detained a number of people over charges including broadcasting false news and working with a terrorist organisation.
Abu Zeid also expressed in the statement Egypt's concerns over human rights conditions in the European Union, which he says include the ill-treatment of migrants and refugees. The spokesman also highlighted the rise of extremist right-wing movements and parties in Europe and the associated racism, violence and hate speech.