The Egyptian foreign ministry reprimanded on Wednesday a statement by its French counterpart commenting on Egypt’s arrest of a human rights activist, saying it represents an interference in the Egyptian domestic affairs.
Mohamed Bashir, the executive director of the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), a human rights organization, was arrested on 15 November on terrorism charges according to local media.
These charges reportedly include joining a terrorist group while knowing its goals, using a private account on the internet with the aim of publishing false news and committing a crime related to funding terrorism.
In a brief statement, France expressed “deep concern” over Bashir’s arrest and said it maintains a “frank, exacting dialogue” with Egypt on human rights issues.
Responding in a sharp tone, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s spokesman, Ahmed Hafez, expressed his rejection of the French statement, which says that they are attempting to impact investigations the Public Prosecution is conducting with an Egyptian citizen.
Hafez said Egypt sticks to the principle of not interfering in other states’ affairs, including France, when it comes to procedures taken by law enforcement authorities in these states.
He also expressed his “regret” that the French ministry’s statement did not respect Egyptian laws and defended an entity “operating illegally in the civil society field.”
“The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights is registered as a company and performs activities in violation of the provisions of the law no.149 for the year 2019,” added Hafez.
The ministry spokesman also affirmed the Egyptian state’s respect to the rule of law principle and the principle of equality before the law.
He noted that working in any field in Egypt should be performed in accordance with the relevant laws, adding that violators of these laws are held accountable.
Hafez also highlighted the importance of respecting both principles of the national sovereignty and the non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, in accordance with international law.