Egypt ranked 126th in world for freedom

US organization Freedom House has ranked Egypt 126th out of 195 countries when it comes to public freedoms.

According to a new report by the organization based on 2018 data, Egypt and Sri Lanka “are among the least free countries at the level of Internet Freedom”.

The report explained that “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi continues to rule Egypt in an authoritarian manner,” pointing out that serious opposition to the president “no longer exists, as liberal and Islamic activists have been constantly prosecuted and imprisoned”.

In the report, the rate of civil liberties in Egypt decreased from five in the last report to six in the current report, with one meaning the “most free” and seven “least free”. This was due to the approval of a law which restricts local organizations’ work and the campaign against the activities of trade unions and associations unrecognized by the government.

The same decrease in standards can be seen in political freedoms and press freedoms.

Since the military coup in 2013, the Egyptian authorities have been carrying out arrest campaigns targeting thousands of opponents, including Islamists, human rights activists and others. These campaigns have even reached loyalists within the regime.

HRW condemns execution of 3 Egypt prisoners

Human Rights Watch (HRW) yesterday condemned the Egyptian authorities’ execution of three coup opponents, stating that they were tortured into confessing.

The three men – two of whom were university students and the third the owner of a computer shop – were imprisoned after Egyptian authorities accused them of killing the son of a judge. On Thursday, Egypt imposed the death penalty against the three men in Mansoura, east of Alexandria.

Commenting on the death penalty, HRW stated yesterday that one of the defendants had sent a letter to Freedom Seekers – an observatory established by a group of human rights lawyers and activists – which “claimed that their confessions were made under torture”.

HRW’s statement said that “the letter indicated that they were tortured with electric shocks and beaten in the prison”.

Deputy Director of the International Organization for the Middle East and North Africa, Michael Page, called on Egypt to “ban the execution of death sentences, which amplifies the cruelty of unfair trials”.

Egyptian authorities have banned public funerals for the three young men and imposed strict measures on the private funeral, which was attended by few relatives who prayed for them in the mosque at dawn and buried them quickly.

In July 2016, the Mansoura Criminal Court sentenced five defendants to death by hanging, saying they belonged to the Muslim Brotherhood. These five included the three young men executed this week.

International human rights organizations have criticized the human rights situation in Egypt in light of a wave of executions and political arrests which have been perpetrated since Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi came to power after a coup in 2013.