European Parliament calls on Egypt to release all political detainees

Ahram Online , Friday 16 Jan 2015

Egyptian foreign ministry said European parliament's statement reflects 'faulty assumptions' about Egypt

European Parliament
File Photo: Members of the European Parliament attend a voting session at in Strasbourg, France (Photo: Reuters)

The European Parliament has called on Egypt "to release immediately with no condition" all political detainees, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and has said that it won't send a full observation mission to monitor upcoming parliamentary elections AFP reported.

In a statement issued on Wednesday the European Parliament expressed its concerns about the "restrictions" imposed in Egypt on fundamental human rights, citing concerns about freedom of expression, the right to assembly, restrictions on NGOs, and political pluralism.

"Since July 2013 more than 40,000 protesters were arrested and 1400 protesters were killed because of the excessive use of force by the security forces," read the statement, which called on the Egyptian government to release all political detainees including 167 former MPs elected to parliament in 2011 and currently in detention. 

Egyptian officials have repeatedly denied holding political detainees, arguing that all detainees have been charged with crimes. Muslim Brotherhood-associated political figures are typically charged with incitement to violence or membership of a terrorism organisation -- the Brotherhood was banned in late 2013.

The European Parliament has also decided not to send a full observation mission to Egypt for the upcoming parliamentary elections starting in March, and will instead deploy a “smaller expert mission” EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told EU lawmakers in the French city of Strasbourg, reported DPA.

The purpose of the mission will be to report on the polls, "including on the political environment and the electoral campaign," she added.

In a press conference in May 2014, the six-member European Parliament monitoring delegation stated the Egyptian presidential elections were "free and democratic" but not necessarily fair.

President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi won around 97 percent of the votes in the two-man race.

The European Parliament also expressed its concern regarding the crackdown against homosexuals in Egypt.

A Thursday statement from Egypt’s foreign ministry condemned the statement, expressing its "astonishment" at the "claims" and "faulty assumptions" that reflect a misunderstanding about internal issues in Egypt.

The ministry also accused the EU of discussing issues with no regard for Egyptian values and traditions, citing the statement’s demand for rights for gay people and the cancellation of the death penalty.




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