Egypt Under President Sisi: Even Worse than Under Mubarak or Morsi

June 2016

Prison Conditions: Egypt has arrested more than 40,000 political detainees since mid-2013. Former Egyptian American political prisoner Mohamed Soltan has described prisons as “fertile ground for radicalization.”

Torture: The El Nadeem Center for the Rehabilitation of Victims of Violence reported 137 deaths due to torture while in detention in 2015. Other local organizations have documented hundreds of additional torture cases.

Extrajudicial Killings: Egyptian rights groups have documented 754 extrajudicial killings by security forces in 2016. There has been no accountability for security forces’ killing of a reported 1,100 protestors in July and August 2013.

Forced Disappearances: According to credible local sources, Egypt’s state intelligence and security agencies abducted and disappeared 204 people between December 2015 and March 2016.

Military Courts: In April 2016, Human Rights Watch reported that military courts have tried at least 7,420 Egyptian civilians since October 2014 under the courts’ expanded authority granted by President Sisi.

Death Sentences: An estimated 1,700 people have been sentenced to death since 2014 in what many governments and rights organizations describe as unfair and politically motivated trials lacking due process.

Terrorism Law: The 2015 anti-terrorism law grants the president, prosecutors, and security agencies broad powers to “ensure public order and security” equivalent to those granted by a state of emergency.

Organized Violent Attacks: Violent attacks by militant groups have intensified under Sisi, with attacks occurring in 2015 at a rate more than three times greater than in 2014, and more than 50 times greater than in 2010-2012.

Freedom of Association: Case 173 targeting American and Egyptian staff of IRI, NDI, Freedom House, and two other US and German NGOs, re-opened in 2016, with dozens of civil society organizations now facing closure and staff members facing criminal detention, prosecution, travel bans, and asset freezes. Prominent local groups now under investigation include the Egyptian Institute for Personal Rights (EIPR), the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS), and the Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

Freedom of Press: Egypt is now second only to China in the number of journalists in prison. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported in December 2015 that at least 23 journalists are jailed under the “pretext of national security” on a variety of charges, including spreading false news, illegally protesting, and joining terror groups.

Freedom of Speech: Blasphemy cases continue to be prosecuted, targeting authors, poets, and even Coptic Christian teenagers mocking the Islamic State.

Freedom of Assembly: Protests remain illegal under the 2013 demonstrations law, and hundreds have been given lengthy jail terms on protest-related charges, including prominent activists Ahmed Maher and Alaa Abdelfattah.

Economy: Egypt’s foreign reserves are now less than half the 2010 levels. Youth unemployment stands at 42 percent, with 850,000 new workers entering the job market annually. Core inflation has reached 12.23 percent, a seven-year high.

Corruption: Egypt’s former chief corruption auditor publicly estimated that approximately $76 billion was siphoned from Egypt’s public sector through pervasive corruption from 2012-2015. He was placed under house arrest in March 2016 and is now being tried on charges of spreading false news and disturbing the peace.