The emergency measures allow security forces to detain people for any period of time, for virtually any reason. They also grant broad powers to restrict public gatherings and media freedom.
Human Rights Watch
The presidential election was held in an atmosphere of untamed repression.
Human Rights Watch said on January 18, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi's government during 2017 observed few boundaries on its untamed repression of all forms of dissent. While the country faced major security threats and attacks by armed groups, the government introduced a host of repressive laws, reinstated the abusive state of emergency, and sent thousands of civilians to military courts that, along with civilian courts, issued scores of death sentences in flawed trials, Human Rights Watch said in its World Report 2018.
The el-Sisi government tightly controls local media outlets, prosecutes critical journalists and activists, and maintains a zero-tolerance policy for exercising the right to peaceful assembly, effectively eliminating basic requirements for fair elections.
"Reviewing Egypt's 2017 record, it appears that applying violence and repression to decimate the rule of law and peaceful opposition is el-Sisi's primary 'accomplishment,'" said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The way things are trending, the government crackdown will continue to stifle citizens' legitimate aspirations and rights."
Tellingly, on the el-Sisi's watch 109 had been sentenced to death in 2013, 509 in 2014, 538 in 2015 and 237 in 2016.
UN experts call on Egypt to halt executions
Egypt must stop executions until it has reviewed all death sentences and retried any convictions that are found to rest on unfair trials, five independent UN human-rights experts said on January 26. "We have raised multiple specific cases with the Egyptian authorities and continue to receive more. In the light of these persistent serious allegations, we urge the government to halt all pending executions," the experts said in a statement.
The experts were Jose' Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, Agnes Callamard, Bernard Duhaime, Nils Melzer, and Fionnuala D. N-Aola'in, who report to the Council on arbitrary detention, extrajudicial executions, enforced disappearances, torture and the protection of human rights while countering terrorism.
"We are particularly concerned by an apparently continuing pattern of death sentences handed out on the basis of evidence obtained through torture or ill-treatment, often during a period of enforced disappearance," they said.
In February 14 international- and regional-rights organizations said that the government of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi has relentlessly stifled basic freedoms and arrested potential candidates and rounded up their supporters. "Egypt's allies should speak out publicly now to denounce these farcical elections, rather than continue with largely unquestioning support for a government presiding over the country's worst human-rights crisis in decades," the groups said, adding:
"The repression in advance of Egypt's presidential election is a substantial escalation in a political environment that denies peoples' rights to political participation and to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly."
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