Minister denies terror trials and attacks State Department human rights report

Abdel-Rahman Hussein
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Egypt’s Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Mufid Shehab denied Wednesday allegations that Egypt had tried terror suspects on behalf of the United States, as he addressed the People’s Assembly’s human rights committee.

This accusation “is devoid of any truth and utterly baseless, he said.

Shehab did not discuss extraordinary rendition but stated explicitly that no trials of these suspects were held in Egypt on behalf of the United States.

His words, however, conflict with statements made by Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif in an interview with the Chicago Tribune in 2005, confirming that Egypt was one of the countries in which extraordinary rendition was performed.

In the interview Nazif had admitted that terror investigations had crossed borders: “As terrorism has crossed borders, it’s the right of the people who are doing the investigations to also cross borders, he was quoted as saying.

“Whether it’s in Egypt or the US or they’re kept in Guantanamo or in a prison near Cairo is immaterial in this case. It’s not the physical location. It’s the process itself, he added.

Furthermore, in May 2005, Nazif told NBC that 60 or 70 suspected terrorists had been sent by the US to Egypt since 2001.

In his address, Shehab also heavily criticized the US State Department’s annual human rights report on Egypt which was released in late February. He labeled the report inaccurate and subjective, saying it tarnished Egypt’s image.

Shehab went on to say that human rights in Egypt had seen a marked improvement especially after the constitutional amendments of 2007 which introduced the concept of citizenship.

Committee member Mahmoud Selim chimed in saying that “this report is not worthy of a response and is rejected in its entirety. Another committee member Mohammed Amer described the report as a tool to pressure Egypt.

The report had criticized Egypt’s track record in the wake of continued human rights abuses and singled out the government for its poor track record.

“The government’s respect for human rights remained poor, and serious abuses continued in many areas . Security forces used unwarranted lethal force and tortured and abused prisoners and detainees, in most cases with impunity, the report read.

Head of the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights Hafez Abu Saeda had concurred with the findings of the report regarding the continued and systematic level of human rights abuses in Egypt.

“We are still subject to the emergency law, there are continued detentions of political activists and bloggers for example so the abuses still continue, he said.

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