The POMED Wire

Members of Congress Seek Answers from Tillerson about Egypt’s Detention of U.S. Teen

In a letter sent to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson this morning, Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ) express concern about 17-year-old Ahmed Hassan, a New Jersey native, who has been imprisoned in Egypt since November 20, 2016. The members of Congress acknowledge the importance of the U.S.-Egypt strategic partnership, but raise concerns about Egyptian authorities’ respect for human rights, civil liberties, and the treatment of approximately 20 American citizens jailed in Egypt. The letter can be seen here. Full text of the letter is as follows: April 25, 2017 The Honorable Rex W. Tillerson Secretary

Turkey Approves Sweeping Presidential Powers, U.S. Policymakers Respond

On April 16, amid contested balloting results and street demonstrations by opposition parties and voters, Turkey’s referendum vote came down in favor of expanding presidential powers for President Recip Tayyip Erdogan, granting him sweeping executive powers that rights groups viewed as potential “death knell” for Turkish democracy. Preliminary counts put the vote at 51.3 percent in favor and 48.6 percent opposed. A last-minute order issued by the country’s Supreme Election Board, dominated by AKP members, allowed ballots without the official stamp to be counted. Turkish opposition parties immediately called for an annulment of the referendum results. Bulent Tezcan, the deputy leader of the

A Quick Look at Egypt’s New State of Emergency Measures

By Jenna Amlani In the wake of the April 9 Palm Sunday bombings in Tanta and Alexandria, the Egyptian government responded with a number of legal measures aimed at strengthening the country’s ability to fight terrorism. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi declared a three-month nationwide state of emergency, which was unanimously approved by Parliament two days later. This is the first time a nationwide state of emergency has been imposed since Egypt adopted a new constitution in 2014. After a state of emergency has been in effect for three months, it can only be extended by two-thirds parliamentary approval. The House

Saudi Arabia’s Human Rights Record: Then and Now

By Michael Marinelli On March 14, President Donald Trump met with Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, after which the White House described its “support for a strong, broad, and enduring strategic partnership.” A statement from the Saudi government said that U.S.-Saudi “relations had undergone a period of difference of opinion,” but the meeting “has put things on the right track and marked a significant shift in relations.” At least publicly, the Trump administration has signaled little interest in the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. But, a comparison of U.S. government and prominent rights organization reports from

Sen. Rubio Highlights Egypt Human Rights Abuses, Demands Aya Hijazi’s Release

In a speech on the floor of the Senate on April 4, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) highlighted Egypt’s troubling human rights record. Sen. Rubio met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ahead of the speech, and acknowledged Egypt’s efforts to fight the Islamic State. He said “I believe [Egypt’s human rights record] is at its worst in decades, and that is saying something.” He added, “These abuses … are actually conducive to jihadi ideaology,” and that people are more attracted to militancy “when they feel they are being mistreated.” He also reiterated his call for the immediate release of American