UK must stop supplying Egypt military regime with arms due to post-Arab Spring violence: CAAT

UK must stop supplying Egypt military regime with arms due to post-Arab Spring violence: CAAT
CAAT has urged the UK government to stop supplying arms to Egypt's military regime.
2 min read
25 January, 2021
Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah al-Sisi [Getty]

The UK government must end its arms sales and support for the Egyptian military regime due to massive human rights violations, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) said on Monday.

On the 10th anniversary of the Egyptian revolution, CAAT released a statement urging the UK to end military support for the regime which is responsible for massacring protesters and torturing dissidents.

The Arab Spring protests successfully rid Egypt of dictator Hosni Mubarak, who was led a year later by Mohammed Morsi, Egypt's first ever democratically elected leader.

Morsi was removed in a bloody military coup in 2013, led by General Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi who became president and launched the heaviest crackdown on dissent in its modern history.

At least 1,300 people were killed during anti-Sisi protests in July-August 2013, in what was named as the Rabaa Massacre.

The UK paused arms agreements with Cairo after these mass killings, but sales quickly resumed.

Read also: 'Chilling rise' of executions in Egypt, Amnesty warns

Since January 2011, the UK government has licensed at least £218 million worth of arms to Egypt, including armoured vehicles, tanks, small arms, and parts for drones, helicopters and aircraft.

Cairo has been designated as a "core market" for further arms sales, according to CAAT, and in 2015 and 2020, Sisi made high-profile visits to Downing Street.

"Ten years ago, millions of people across Egypt took to the street in protest against the violent repression of the Mubarak regime. The UK was among the arms-dealing governments that had ignored the atrocities until then, just as it is willingly ignoring them today," Andrew Smith of CAAT said.

Human rights groups say that Egyptian authorities practice widespread torture and repression, with around 60,000 political detainees languishing behind bars.

Egypt's military has also been accused of massive human rights violations against civilians in its campaign against Islamic State group militants in the Sinai.

"The arms sales need to stop, and so does the hypocritical foreign policy that has allowed Boris Johnson and his colleagues to talk about the importance of human rights while providing an uncritical political and military support for Sisi and his brutal forces," Smith added.

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