Four Egyptian rights advocates accused of 'spreading false news' after meeting with Macron
El-Sayed Gamal El-Din, , Wednesday 30 Jan 2019

An Egyptian lawyer has filed a complaint with theprosecutor-general accusing four Egyptian human rights advocates who met French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to Egypt of "defaming the Egyptian state and spreading false news."

The complaint was filed against Mohamed Zaree, the director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), Gamal Eid, the executive director of the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information, Mohamed Lotfy, the executive director of the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms, and Gasser Abdel-Razek, the executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR).

Tarek Mahmoud, the lawyer who filed the complaint, said in the complaint that the four men "provided French officials with false information on the political conditions in Egypt" and accused the government of being "responsible for forced disappearances and carrying out torture in Egyptian prisons."

Mahmoud claimed that the four men "meant to agitate international opinion against the country and defame state institutions."

The lawyer also accused the four men of "insulting the Egyptian state and undermining the country’s national security, and colllaborating with the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group to achieve its goals of bringing down the Egyptian state."

On Tuesday, the CIHRS’s Zaree provided details about the meeting with Macron, which came a few hours after the French president addressed Egypt’s human rights conditions in a press conference with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi in Cairo.

The Egyptian president defended the country's human rights record, saying that "Egypt is not like Europe or the US," and that it has its own special circumstances.

El-Sisi asked people not to forget "that the country is located in a troubled region," adding that Egypt had successfully defeated plan to establish a religious state.