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Egypt Human Rights Caucus Co-Chairs’ Statement On Visit to Washington of Abbas Kamel, Director of Egypt’s General Intelligence Services

Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), co-chairs of Congress’ Egypt Human Rights Caucus, issued the following statement today on the visit to Washington of senior Egyptian security official Abbas Kamel:

“We recognize the importance of the visit to Washington of Egypt’s senior intelligence official, Abbas Kamel. The White House and senior administration officials will rightfully thank Mr. Kamel for the Egyptian government’s role in facilitating a rapid ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in May, an effort that served Egypt’s national security interests as well as our own. But we believe it will also be essential to raise persistent United States concerns about widespread human rights abuses in Egypt, and about ongoing Egyptian efforts to harass and intimidate American citizens and their families. 

“Arbitrary detentions, trumped up prosecutions, torture, and digital snooping by Egyptian security services are consistent features of life for many Egyptians. These abuses also matter to the United States, because of the generous military assistance that American taxpayers provide to Egypt, because of the extremism and terrorism spawned by Egypt’s persecution of peaceful dissent, and because of the direct harm suffered by Americans who have been critical of the Egyptian government.

“As such, we urge the administration to raise the Egyptian security services’ continued abuses with Mr. Kamel, including arbitrary detention rates that dwarf any regional counterpart, recent provocative and politically motivated death sentences and pending executions, harassment of Americans’ family members, prosecution of peaceful civil society on trumped-up charges, and scorched-earth tactics in the Sinai—all actions that generate more extremism and future threats to the American and Egyptian people. Officials should also press for answers on alleged assistance provided by Egyptian services to the Saudi hit team sent to murder Jamal Khashoggi.

“Finally, we urge the administration to inform Mr. Kamel that actions by the security services under his control in the coming months will directly impact the administration’s ability to release $300 million of military assistance in September that Congress has specifically held back pending improvements in human rights conditions.”