President Donald Trump heaped praise on his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, during their meeting at the White House while the advocacy group Human Rights Watch said political liberties are at the lowest point in Egypt and severely threatened in the US.
The first visit by an Egyptian head of state to the White House since 2009 was not Al-Sisi’s only meeting with Trump.
During the campaign, the autocratic Egyptian leader said he had “no doubt” Trump would make a strong leader and then-Republican nominee praised Sisi as a “fantastic guy” and touted the “chemistry” the two politicians shared during a special meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
In July 2013 as defense minister, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew Mohamed Morsi, the first democratically elected head of state in the 5000 years of Egyptian history.
He then oversaw the brutal dispersal of opposition protests that left more than 1,150 people dead in the following weeks. Under al-Sisi’s presidency, his security forces have arrested tens of thousands of Egyptians and committed flagrant rights abuses, including torture, enforced disappearances, and likely extrajudicial executions.
According to Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch, “inviting al-Sisi for an official visit to Washington as tens of thousands of Egyptians rot in jail and when torture is again the order of the day is a strange way to build a stable strategic relationship.”
Egypt has been under an international spotlight for its human rights abuses, particularly, it’s treatment of journalists.
The leaders of Egypt and the US have vowed to team up to help bring stability to the Middle East.
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