Germany, along with four other Western nations, has slammed Egypt for the "ongoing detention" of a prominent human rights lawyer. Ibrahim Metwally was detained en route to a conference on forced disappearances.
Egypt on Sunday summoned Germany's ambassador Julius Georg Luy along with several Western diplomats to protest a statement issued by Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, the UK and Canada over the detention of a prominent human rights lawyer.
The statement from the five countries represented a "blatant and unacceptable interference in domestic affairs and the work of the judiciary," said Egypt's foreign ministry in a statement.
"It is unfortunate that such a statement would be issued from countries that call for respecting rule of law and the principles of separation of powers," the ministry said.
On Friday, the embassies of the five Western countries issued a statement saying they were "deeply concerned" over the "ongoing detention" of Ibrahim Metwally, a human rights lawyer investigating the murder of Italian doctoral student Giulio Regeni.
Regeni was found dead on the outskirts of Cairo after mysteriously disappearing on January 25, 2016, the anniversary of Egypt's tumultuous 2011 uprising. His body had signs of torture, including cigarette burns and multiple stab wounds, considered hallmarks of Egypt's state security services.
From government officials to human rights defenders, Italians have demanded answers about Regeni's death from Egyptian authorities
Metwally, who founded the Association of the Families of the Disappeared, was on his way to take a flight to Geneva for a conference in September on enforced disappearances when he was detained by security services.
"We are concerned at the detention conditions that Ibrahim Metwally … is reportedly enduring, and continue to call for transparency on prison conditions in Egypt," said the embassies' statement.
"We call on the Egyptian authorities to ensure the freedom of civil society and the protection from torture that are enshrined in the Egyptian Constitution."
'Our country is oppressed'
Meanwhile, prominent Nubian activist Gamal Sorour died on Saturday while in police custody, according to human rights activists. The businessman was arrested by police in September during a peaceful protest in the Upper Egyptian city of Aswan.
"After all he has done for his country, he has died while incarcerated with many others by authorities," said fellow activist and longtime friend Haggag Oddoul. "Many honorable people died before him and many will do so after, so long as our country is oppressed."
Since the Egyptian military led by current President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi ousted Egypt's first democratically-elected president in 2013, security forces have implemented a nationwide crackdown against human rights defenders and opposition activists. Since the coup, Egypt has also witnessed an "unprecedented spike" in forced disappearances.
ls/jlw (Reuters, AFP, AP)