Amnesty International urged the EU to really stop the arms transfers to Egypt, saying that the arms exports are fuelling killings and torture in the Southern Mediterranean country.
The EU has imposed an arms export suspension in Egypt after August 2013, when hundreds of protesters were killed by the Egyptian security forces. However, despite the suspension, Amnesty reported today that 12 out of the 28 EU member states have remained among Egypt’s main suppliers of arms and policing equipment.
The EU countries who have been supplying arms to Egypt through exports or brokering since 2013 are: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and the UK. According to the Amnesty the main suppliers to Egyptian authorities are Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France and Italy.
“Almost three years on from the mass killings that led the EU to call on its member states to halt arms transfers to Egypt, the human rights situation has actually deteriorated,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, interim Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.
“Internal repression by the security forces remains rife, and there has been virtually no accountability. Excessive use of force, mass arbitrary arrests, torture, and enforced disappearances having become a part of the security forces’ modus operandi.
“EU states transferring arms and policing equipment to Egyptian forces carrying out enforced disappearances, torture and arbitrary arrests on a mass scale are acting recklessly and are risking complicity in these serious violations,” the Amnesty official highlighted.
“The EU should immediately impose an embargo on all transfers of the types of arms and equipment being used by Egypt to commit serious human rights violations. The EU and its members must stop rewarding bad behaviour by Egypt’s police and military with a bonanza of arms supplies,” added Brian Wood, Head of Arms Control and Human Rights at Amnesty International.
In April, Reuters reported that the 28-year-old Italian student, Giulio Regeni, who was found dead in Egypt was detained by the Egyptian police the day before he disappeared. Regini, an Italian doctoral student at Cambridge University, disappeared on 25 January 2016 in Cairo and found dead on 2 February next to a road in the outskirts of the Egyptian capital, Cairo. Many have said that Regini was taken by the Egyptian police but the Egyptian officials are denying the claims.
On 2 May, Egypt’s journalists’ syndicate called for the dismissal of the Egyptian interior minister and protested against the police detention of journalists.