Press Releases

Egypt Human Rights Caucus Co-Chairs’ Statement On Investigative Report Confirming Widespread, Lengthy Pretrial Detentions In Egypt

Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA) and Tom Malinowski (D-NJ), co-chairs of Congress’ Egypt Human Rights Caucus, issued the following statement today on new investigative reporting by the New York Times which confirms that thousands of prisoners have been held in pretrial detention, often for very long periods of time:

“The New York Times’ reporting confirms what we have known for years – the Egyptian government systematically detains and imprisons thousands of Egyptians, with no due process, for what they think and say. We were skeptical when President Sisi released his government’s ‘national human rights strategy’ in September 2021, and this investigation validates our concerns. If President Sisi is truly committed to reversing his government’s appalling human rights record, he should focus less on face-saving measures and halt the use of pretrial detentions and trumped up ‘terrorism’ charges to stifle dissent and speech.  

“We are glad that President Biden raised human rights in his meeting with President Sisi and reprogrammed $130 million in military aid last year after Egypt failed to meet narrow human rights conditions. It is clear that the Egyptian government is trying to paper over its abuses rather than institute meaningful reforms. Over 16,000 Egyptians were detained or summoned for arbitrary reasons from 2020 to 2021 – even posting a meme on social media can get you thrown in jail. The Egyptian government’s reputation in Congress will not improve as long as these practices persist. We will work to strengthen conditions on U.S. security assistance to Egypt until tangible changes are made.

“The Egypt Human Rights Caucus successfully included language in the House passed NDAA requiring the State Department to provide a full account of the number of prisoners arbitrarily detained because of their beliefs or identity. We call on Senate leaders to support this provision in the final version of the NDAA. The $1.3 billion US taxpayers provide funds to the Egyptian military must be subject to proper oversight and not support a system that imprisons thousands of people for what they believe.”