Egypt summons European envoys over ‘unacceptable’ human rights statement

Egypt on Sunday summoned several European ambassadors following their criticism of the detention of an Egyptian rights lawyer, with the foreign ministry branding their remarks “unacceptable and blatant interference in domestic affairs”.

In a statement, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid said the envoys of Germany, Italy and Holland have been summoned by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Ihab Nasr, with the ambassadors of the UK and Canada to be summoned later.

According to Abu Zeid, Nasr summoned the ambassadors to present them with a “strongly worded official complaint” in response to a statement issued by the five countries over the detention since September of human rights lawyer Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy.

Abu Zeid said Egypt expressed it’s “severe resentment” at the statement released by the five nations.

According to the spokesman, Nasr expressed his rejection of the fallacies of the joint statement, calling on the ambassadors of Germany, Italy and Holland to be more accurate in describing the legal situation of Metwally.

Nasr said that the lawyer was being held in relation to investigations being conducted by the public prosecution. He further stressed the importance of respecting the legal procedures of Egypt.

Abu Zeid added that the ambassadors were informed of Egypt’s rejection of the false claims made regarding the status of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and allegations of torture in Egyptian prisons.

“It is unfortunate that such a statement is issued by countries that support sovereignty and the separation of powers,” the statement added.

Nasr called on the ambassadors of the three countries to not to be influenced by false information, and for their nations to avoid seeking to act as guardians over other nations.

In a joint statement on 3 November, Canada, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and the UK expressed their deep concern at “the ongoing detention of human rights lawyer Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy.”

“We are concerned at the detention conditions that Ibrahim Metwally Hegazy is reportedly enduring,” the statement said.

The five countries concluded their statement by calling on the Egyptian authorities “to ensure the freedom of civil society and the protection from torture that are enshrined in the Egyptian Constitution.”

Hegazy was arrested on 10 September while on his way to Geneva to address the UN Working Group on forced disappearance. Since then, his detention has been renewed.

Hegazy is one of the founders of the Association of the Families of the Forcibly Disappeared.

He is also one of the lawyers representing the family of Italian researcher Giulio Regeni who was found dead in Cairo in February 2016. Regeni was conducting research on trade unions before he went missing on 25 January 2016, his body being discovered days later bearing the signs of torture.

Source: Ahram Online

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