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Egypt arrests 19 rights activists: Amnesty

November 2, 2018

The rights group has said the arrests were made in house raids that began early Thursday. The arrests are part of an ongoing crackdown on dissent by President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government.

Defendants attend the trial session behind a cage in Cairo, Egypt on January 9, 2018.
Image: picture-alliance/AA

Egyptian authorities arrested at least 19 lawyers and rights activists on Thursday, Amnesty International said in a statement.

The London-based advocacy group said the arrests were made in house raids that began in the early hours.

Among those arrested was the 60-year-old human rights lawyer Hoda Abdel-Monaim, a former member of the National Council for Human Rights, Amnesty said.

"Today's chilling wave of arrests targeting the human rights community is yet another appalling setback for human rights in Egypt," said Najia Bounaim, Amnesty's Campaigns Director.

"With these arrests the Egyptian authorities have once more demonstrated their ruthless determination to crush all activism and dismantle the human rights movement in the country."

Crackdown on dissent

The arrests are part of the country's ongoing crackdown on dissent.

President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's government has jailed thousands of political opponents, human rights activists and journalists since coming to power in 2013. Other dissidents have been slapped with travel bans over allegations of harming national security.

"The systematic persecution of human rights workers in Egypt has to stop," Bounaim said. "Human rights defenders should be allowed to carry out their work without fear of harassment, arrest or imprisonment."

Amnesty said Thursday's arrests prompted human rights group Egyptian Coordination for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) to suspend its activities, citing the hostile environment towards civil society in the country. 

ap/bw (AP, AFP)

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