Fearing war crimes arrest, Egypt's Sisi cancels trip to African summit

Earlier this week, the Egyptian government dismissed a report that accused it of widespread human rights violations as politicized and lacking in objectivity and accuracy.

June 13, 2015 12:58
1 minute read.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addresses the World Economic Forum in Jordan

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi addresses the World Economic Forum in Jordan. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi canceled a trip to the African Union summit meeting in South Africa over the weekend for fear he would be arrested on war crimes charges.

A group of Muslim lawyers in South Africa had submitted a criminal complaint against the Egyptian leader regarding “the horrendous killings that resulted from the 2013 coup in Egypt.”

“We have overwhelming evidence proving that Sisi committed war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Yousha Tayoub of the South African Muslim Lawyers Association told Anadolu Agency.

“We have presented our evidence to the authorities and are hopeful they will act.”

Last week, the Egyptian government dismissed a report that accused it of widespread human rights violations.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said on Monday, which marked one year of Sisi’s presidency, that his tenure had seen increased abuses and an escalation in violence by armed groups and the government. It charged Western governments with overlooking abuses.

“The report is politicized and lacks the basic tenants of accuracy and objectivity,” Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said.

Human Rights Watch has no credibility with Egyptian public opinion and spreads lies, the ministry spokesman said.

HRW had targeted Egypt since June 30, 2013 – when the army overthrew president Mohamed Morsi – and is carrying out a “systematic campaign” against the country, he said.

Egyptian authorities have jailed thousands of suspected members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the courts have sentenced hundreds to death since then. Security forces have also killed hundreds of Brotherhood supporters.

Terrorists have escalated attacks against soldiers and police, killing hundreds. The most active group, Sinai Province, pledged allegiance to Islamic State and wants to topple the Cairo government.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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