On Wednesday September 9,
In his testimony before the US House of Representatives, Bahey eldin Hassan, the director of the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, emphasized that there are no channels for dialogue on respecting human rights in Egypt between independent human rights organizations and the government of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi. The relationship between the human rights community and the Egyptian government is limited to the relentless pursuit of independent human rights defenders and their families, through kidnapping, enforced disappearance, torture, imprisonment and fabricated charges.
Hassan’s testimony was given before the US House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and International Terrorism, during a hearing titled “Egypt: Trends in Politics, Economics, and Human Rights.” The hearing was held over two sessions and aimed to consider the trajectory of US-Egypt ties. The first session, where Hassan and Mr. Mohamed Soltan delivered their testimonies, focused on the human rights situation in Egypt, the repression of civil society and political opponents, and the harassment of human rights defenders. During the second session, expert testimonies on the political, economic, and human rights situation in Egypt were delivered by Dr. Tamara Cofman Wittes, Dr. Michele Dunne, Ms. Amy Hawthorne, and Mr. Samuel Tadros,
Bahey eldin Hassan’s testimony came at the invitation of the committee in light of his recent sentencing by an Egyptian terrorism court to 15 years in prison for “insulting the judiciary.” The testimony highlighted the many forms of persecution he has been subjected to over the past years, including death threats, an asset freeze, incitement to murder, and sentencing to a total of 18 years in prison. Hassan further underscored the systematic erosion of the marginal independence of the judiciary over the past years, and the danger it poses for prospects of long-term stability.
The testimony concluded with Hassan warning that “if there is no sustained pushback from the international community against this unjust sentence, then many other Egyptian human rights defenders and non-violent critics of the government will be subjected to similar treatment.”
Read the full testimony Here.
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