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.
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.