Anti-arms trade campaigners slam planned US $2.6 billion weapons sale to Egypt
Anti-arms trade campaigners have slammed the potential sale of $2.6 billion in US military equipment to Egypt.
The US State Department on Thursday approved Egypt's planned purchase of CH-47F Chinook helicopters and other related equipment, according to the Pentagon.
Dr. Sam Perlo-Freeman, research coordinator at the Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), flagged the Egyptian military's human rights abuses in the Sinai, where an Islamic State group insurgency has been brewing, and other human rights abuses.
"Egypt's military dictatorship practices brutal repression against political opponents, journalists, and human rights defenders, including torture, arbitrary detention in horrific conditions, and disappearances," Perlo-Freeman told The New Arab.
"Its military campaign in the Sinai has involved widespread abuses and killing of civilians. Arming Egypt directly aids and abets these abuses, while strengthening and legitimising this brutal regime."
Campaigners have called for the sale of weapons to Egypt to be conditional on Cairo vastly improving its human rights record.
Egypt has been accused by human rights defenders of extrajudicial killings, torture, and using child soldiers in its counter-insurgency campaign in the Sinai.
It has also detained thousands of pro-democracy activists, including Alaa Abdel-Fattah who is currently on hunger strike.
Last week, the US approved the sale of nearly $700 million in anti-tank missiles and other related equipment.
Egypt maintains one of the Middle East's largest standing armies despite suffering a devastating economic crisis that has hit poor Egyptians hardest.