Amnesty International warns Biden administration: Waiving restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Egypt risks U.S. complicity in human rights abuses

Amnesty International on Monday morning warned the Biden administration that waiving restrictions on U.S. military assistance to Egypt risks U.S. complicity in human rights abuses.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sits with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, on April 20, 2016, at the outset of a bilateral meeting preceding an onward flight by the Secretary to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to accompany President Obama during a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council. [State Department photo/ 
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi sits with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the Presidential Palace in Cairo, Egypt, on April 20, 2016, at the outset of a bilateral meeting preceding an onward flight by the Secretary to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to accompany President Obama during a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council. [State Department photo/

The organization was responding to reported deliberations by the Biden administration on invoking a national security waiver to release $300 million of restricted military assistance to Egypt.

Philippe Nassif, Amnesty International’s advocacy director for the Middle East and North Africa said in a statement received by Today News Africa in Washington D.C. that the move will set a very bad precedent.

“Waiving the Congressionally-imposed restriction would provide a green light for President al-Sisi’s increasing crackdowns on Egyptians and further implicates the U.S. in abhorrent human rights abuses. Unconditionally backing Egypt’s security forces contradicts President Biden and Secretary of State Blinken’s stated commitments to center human rights,”Nassif wrote.

Amnesty International USA called on the Biden administration to forgo the waiver, and further halt arms sales due to the credible evidence confirming use of U.S.-provided arms in flagrant violations by security forces, including extrajudicial killings just weeks ago.

It said arbitrary arrests and detainments, torture, and enforced disappearances are regularly carried out against human rights defenders, LGBTQI+ Egyptians, and journalists in Egypt. Egyptian prisons hold thousands of political prisoners, with dozens dying following denied medical care in 2020. The world’s third-worst executioner, Egypt has executed dozens in 2021, and in June upheld the imminent executions of 12 men convicted via sham trial.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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