Amnesty International has condemned what it called the ‘chilling escalation’ of a crackdown on civil society in Egypt.
The BBC reports that human rights groups say dozens of activists have been targeted with arrests, travel bans and asset freezes under President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi.
In the latest development, a leading human rights group in Egypt says security forces have detained two members of its staff in recent days.
The Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR) reported that its director of criminal justice, Karim Ennarah, was arrested on Wednesday in Dahab and taken to an undisclosed location. Its office manager, Mohammed Basheer, was detained in Cairo on Sunday. EIPR is an independent human rights group whose work covers a variety of political, civil, economic and social issues in Egypt.
Amnesty International said in a statement on Twitter: ‘These arrests, following a meeting at EIPR with Western diplomats, serve a heavy blow against the legitimate work of human rights defenders. Time for the international community to call on Egypt to end reprisals against human rights organizations and release EIPR staff now.’
Responding to a statement from France expressing ‘deep concern’ over Basheer’s arrest, the Egyptian foreign ministry said it rejected France’s ‘interference in an Egyptian internal affair and the attempt to influence the investigations’.