• Monday, Oct 18, 2021
  • Last Update : 01:57 pm

France’s Macron: Egypt's rights record seen as worse than under Mubarak

  • Published at 10:49 am January 28th, 2019
Emmanuel Macron
File photo: French President Emmanuel Macron reacts after he delivered his new year wishes to the military during a ceremony on the Toulouse-Francazal airbase in Toulouse, France, January 17, 2019 Reuters

His comments marked a hardening after he said in 2017 he would not ‘lecture’ President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over civil liberties, which activists say are being eroded

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday human rights in Egypt were perceived as worse now than under former strongman Hosni Mubarak, who was toppled by protests in 2011.

His comments marked a hardening after he said in 2017 he would not “lecture” President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi over civil liberties, which activists say are being eroded.

“I think current policies are perceived by intellectuals and Egypt’s civil society as tougher than under the Mubarak regime,” Macron told reporters on the sidelines of a trip to Egypt.

Mubarak, a former air force commander, was jailed for conspiring to kill demonstrators who ended his three-decade rule, but he was freed on appeal in 2017.

“I can’t see how you can pretend to ensure long-term stability in this country, which was at the heart of the Arab Spring and showed its taste for freedom, and think you can continue to harden beyond what’s acceptable or justified for security reasons,” Macron added.

“I think that’s becoming paradoxical and harmful for Egypt itself.”

Non-governmental organizations are pressuring Macron to be firm with the Egyptian president, who in April secured a second term, shoring up his position as a power-broker in the region.

Macron said he would be more outspoken during the three-day trip, which began on Sunday, and would also mention individual cases in private. He was to meet Sisi on Monday.

Sisi’s critics accuse him of cracking down on all dissent, but supporters say tough measures are needed to stabilize Egypt, rocked by years of unrest after the fall of Mubarak.

In an interview earlier this month, Sisi denied that Egypt was holding political prisoners, though one rights group estimates the number at 60,000.

In October 2017, Macron gave Sisi, who was visiting Paris, a list of activists he believed could be released from prison.

On Sunday, he said only two of them had been freed, which he considered “unsatisfactory.”

“I will at the same time have a confidential dialogue on individual cases and speak out more distinctly, as well as have symbolic exchanges, because I think that’s in the interest of President Sisi and Egypt’s stability,” Macron said.

“In Egypt, we’re not only talking about political opponents who are being imprisoned, but opponents who are part of the traditional democratic sphere and are not threatening the regime. Journalists, homosexuals, women and men of conviction.”

50
Facebook 50
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail