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Egypt Human Rights Caucus Co-Chairs’ Statement On the Sentencing of Egyptian Human Rights Defenders

December 20, 2021 (Washington, DC) – 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 sentencing of Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah, human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer, and blogger Mohamed Ibrahim “Oxygen”.

“Today’s sentencing of Egyptian activist Alaa Abdel Fattah to five years in prison and human rights lawyer Mohamed el-Baqer and blogger Mohamed Ibrahim “Oxygen” to four years in prison is a gross injustice and they should be immediately and unconditionally released. During their two-year long pretrial detentions, they reportedly endured torture and other ill-treatment. As three of the most prominent human rights defenders in Egypt, this verdict demonstrates that the Egyptian government—despite attempts to distract the international community with its recently launched National Strategy for Human Rights—is not interested in improving its human rights record. In September, the Biden administration withheld $130 Million in military aid out of concern for such abuses. These verdicts suggest that the Egyptian government is not focused on the conditions for restoration of that aid, which we believe should be reprogrammed to support other U.S. interests in the region. If Egyptian President Sisi is more interested in persecuting bloggers and Twitter posters than in meeting the conditions for U.S. assistance repeatedly outlined by Congress and the administration, that should tell us something about the nature of his regime and the value he places on his relationship with the United States.”