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 citizen Aya Hijazi. The full speech is available below.

In a separate statement on March 31, Sen. Rubio said, “While our two countries seek a deeper relationship, it’s important for Egypt to make progress on human rights, democracy, and economic reforms. I urge President Trump to press for the release of political prisoners in Egypt, including jailed Americans, and encourage Egypt to allow greater space for civil society and freedom of expression for all, and permit non-governmental organizations to operate freely.”