Amy Hawthorne: “Why Pence Must Address Repression during Visit to Cairo”

In an op-ed for The Hill on December 15, 2017, POMED’s Deputy Director for Research Amy Hawthorne provides reasons why Vice President Mike Pence must address Egyptian repression during his visit with President Sisi on Wednesday, December 20th.

When Vice President Mike Pence visits Egypt on Dec. 20, he is likely to echo President Trump’s effusive praise for President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as doing a “fantastic job.” Such rhetoric, however, contradicts the ugly reality unfolding on the ground. Brutal repression and mass human rights abuses are fueling violence and radicalization, undermining Egypt’s important fight against terrorism.

Since July 2013, when al-Sisi led the army’s overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt has descended into a cruel military autocracy. The generals who rule behind a thin civilian facade have stripped away rights and freedoms, including many supposedly guaranteed by Egypt’s constitution. They say they are protecting the state from “national security threats” that include human rights work and independent politics.  Tens of thousands of citizens have been arrested, forcibly disappeared, tortured, imprisoned after grossly unfair trials, and even killed for the “crime” of peaceful dissent. Victims of this unrelenting crackdown include some 50,000 political prisoners — Muslim Brotherhood supporters and secular activists, Muslims and Christians alike. Human rights defenders and independent journalists are under siege. Egypt today is governed by fear, instead of the rule of law.

Read the full article here.