Ahead of the Manakh meeting, which began on Sunday morning, human rights organizations and parts of the Climate Movement criticized Egypt, which since former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi took power in a 2014 coup has resorted to increasingly harsh measures. To silence critics, activists and opposition.
The German government’s commissioner for human rights, Louise Amtsberg, directed further criticism at the host country, calling on Egypt to release regime critic Alaa Abdel Fattah, who is on hunger strike to protest prison conditions, and his lawyer, Mohamed El-Baqer.
The release of Abdel Fattah and other political prisoners would “send an important signal” that Egypt takes its human rights responsibility seriously, according to Louise Amtsberg.
“The fact that people who want to express their opinions freely and defend this right are being punished by long prison terms – sometimes in inhumane conditions – is unacceptable,” Amtsberg said in a statement.
Democratic activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah was a leader in the protests that forced President Hosni Mubarak from power in 2011. His relatives now fear he will die in prison if he is not released, as he plans to go on hunger strike from Sunday.
In all, there are an estimated 60,000 political prisoners held in Egypt, many of them in brutal conditions, according to human rights groups.
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