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    09-Apr-2019

HRW Urges U.S. to Oppose Sisi's Bid to Extend Egypt Rule

 

AFP

 

Human Rights Watch urged Washington Tuesday to withhold its endorsement of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah's bid to extend his rule beyond the end of his second term in 2022.
 
Sisi was in Washington for his second Whit house meeting since President Donald Trump took office in 2017 and the New York-based watchdog said he was seeking his ally's green light for a package of constitutional amendments that are to be put to a referendum later this month.
 
HRW said that the amendments, which would also increase the military's political role and grant Sisi control over the judiciary, would "institutionalise authoritarianism". 
 
"Congress needs to use its levers to pressure the Egyptian president to reverse course, starting with withdrawing these constitutional amendments set to consolidate authoritarian rule," said HRW's Michael Page.
 
Since Sisi overthrew elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi when army chief in 2013, Egypt has drawn heavy international criticism for its sweeping crackdown on dissent. 
 
The authorities have jailed thousands of Morsi's supporters as well as liberal and secular activists, including a popular blogger, actors, singers and journalists. 
 
Relations between Cairo and Washington were tense under Trump's predecessor, Barack  Obama, whose administration was critical of both Morsi's ouster and the subsequent crackdown.
 
But they have warmed considerably under Trump, who has been willing to set aside human rights concerns to rebuild close defence and diplomatic ties.
 
 

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