Beyer Statement On Egypt And Senator Robert Menendez
Washington, September 24, 2023
Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), co-founder of the Egypt Human Rights Caucus and longtime critic of the Sisi regime’s human rights violations, today issued the following statement on Senator Robert J. Menendez:
“A jury will decide whether Senator Menendez committed federal crimes that can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, but the preponderance of evidence presented in the indictment makes it impossible for him to continue serving in the U.S. Senate, and I urge him to resign. I further urge the Administration and my colleagues in Congress and to note and respond forcefully to the covert Egyptian campaign to thwart American foreign policy aims detailed in the indictment.
“The indictment alleges that a person who acted as cutout between the Sisi regime and Menendez bribed the Senator to use his position as a leader of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to weaken America’s response to human rights violations in Egypt. Those violations include the mass detention and imprisonment of dissidents – including American citizens – without trial, as well as torture, custody deaths, and extrajudicial killings.
“Congress imposed legal restrictions on military assistance to Egypt, conditioning aid on its human rights record. The Justice Department alleges Egypt’s intelligence and military took part in a scheme that saw payments of bribes to ensure U.S. military assistance and arms sales continued despite congressional objections to Egypt’s abysmal record of repression. These acts demand response.
“As one of those whose efforts the Egyptian regime and Senator Menendez allegedly tried to thwart, I urge my colleagues and the Administration to focus on Egypt’s role in what is clearly an intelligence operation. The Egyptian scheme that focused on Senator Menendez is part of a larger transnational influence campaign that also includes spying and harassing critics of the Sisi regime on American soil. The nature of the scheme shows that the Sisi regime is deeply sensitive to U.S. assistance, and that American leverage can advance the cause of human rights. The administration should take that fact and the context above into account as it makes a final determination on assistance for FY24."
Beyer recently urged the Administration to significantly increase the amount of military assistance withheld from Egypt for FY24 in response to ongoing human rights violations by the Sisi regime. A final decision is expected soon.