Last fall, Mr. el-Sisi announced a new strategy for defending human rights and in the months since, he has released a number of political prisoners.
But activists and US officials say it doesn’t go far enough.
In November, five Egyptian activists and politicians, including a former member of parliament, were sentenced to between three and five years in prison for spreading fake news and using their social media accounts. to undermine national security.
In December, an Egyptian court sentenced three prominent human rights figures to several years in prison, also for spreading fake news.
“Of course the Egyptian government is saying that things have improved, but the reality on the ground is dark and evil,” said Gamal Eid, who has run an independent human rights organization in Egypt for 18 years. years ago when he announced this month that he would be shutting down the organization. , citing security threats and intimidation by the police.
Mr. Eid, who served as executive director of the Arab Human Rights Information Network, is embroiled in a criminal case against several NGOs and dozens of their members, which the authorities was accused of illegally receiving foreign funding. He has been banned from leaving the country since 2016, and his assets have been frozen. Two members of his team, a lawyer and a researcher, are serving time in prison.
The blocked funding is only a small fraction of the estimated $1.3 billion in aid the United States typically gives to Egypt each year. Only a small amount of the assistance is eligible based on the country’s human rights record, at the request of Congress, and officials at the State Department say $130 million is the maximum they can keep for a while. a financial year.
But Egypt has continued to buy billions of dollars worth of military aircraft, ships and other equipment — including a C-130 cargo jet and $2.5 billion worth of radars.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/28/us/politics/egypt-us-human-rights.html US blocks 130 million dollars in aid to Egypt for abuse of power